Infomotions, Inc.Paris as It Was and as It Is / Blagdon, Francis W., 1778-1819



Author: Blagdon, Francis W., 1778-1819
Title: Paris as It Was and as It Is
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): paris; revolution; theatre
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Title: Paris As It Was and As It Is

Author: Francis W. Blagdon

Release Date: September, 2005 [EBook #8998]
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PARIS

AS IT WAS AND AS IT IS;

OR

A Sketch of the French Capital,

ILLUSTRATIVE OF

THE EFFECTS OF THE REVOLUTION,

WITH RESPECT TO

SCIENCES,
LITERATURE,
ARTS,
RELIGION,
EDUCATION,
MANNERS,
AND
AMUSEMENTS;

COMPRISING ALSO

A correct Account of the most remarkable National Establishments and
Public Buildings.

In a Series of Letters,

WRITTEN BY AN ENGLISH TRAVELLER,

DURING THE YEARS 1801-2,

TO A FRIEND IN LONDON.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Ipsa varietate tentamus efficere, ut alia aliis, quaedem fortasse
omnibus placeant. PLIN. Epist._

       *       *       *       *       *


VOL. I

LONDON

1803



ADVERTISEMENT.

In the course of the following production, the Reader will meet with
several references to a Plan of Paris, which it had been intended to
prefix to the work; but that intention having been frustrated by the
rupture between the two countries, in consequence of which the copies
for the whole of the Edition have been detained at Calais, it is
hoped that this apology will be accepted for the omission.



CONTENTS.


VOLUME FIRST.

New Organization of the National Institute

INTRODUCTION

LETTER I.
On the ratification of the preliminary treaty of peace, the author
leaves London for Paris--He arrives at Calais on the 16th of October,
1801--Apparent effect of the peace--After having obtained a passport,
he proceeds to Paris, in company with a French naval officer.

LETTER II.
Journey from Calais to Paris--Improved state of agriculture--None of
the French gun-boats off Boulogne moored with chains at the time of
the attack--St. Denis--General sweep made, in 1793, among the
sepultures in that abbey--Arrival at Paris--Turnpikes now established
throughout Prance--Custom-house scrutiny.

LETTER III.
Objects which first strike the observer on arriving at Paris after an
absence of ten or twelve years--Tumult in the streets considerably
diminished since the revolution--No liveries seen--Streets less
dangerous than formerly to pedestrians--Visits paid to different
persons by the author--Price of lodgings nearly doubled since 1789
--The author takes apartments in a private house.

LETTER IV.
Climate of Paris--_Thermolampes_ or stoves which afford light and
heat on an economical plan--Sword whose hilt was adorned with the
_Pitt_ diamond, and others of considerable value, presented to the
Chief Consul.

LETTER V.
Plan on which these letters are written.

LETTER VI.
The _Louvre_ or _National Palace of Arts and Sciences_ described
--_Old Louvre_--Horrors of St. Bartholomew's day--From this palace
Charles IX fired on his own subjects--Additions successively made to
it by different kings--_Bernini_, sent for by Lewis XIV, forwarded
the foundation of the _New Louvre_, and returned to Italy--_Perrault_
produced the beautiful colonnade of the _Louvre_, the master-piece of
French architecture--Anecdote of the Queen of England, relict of
Charles I--Public exhibition of the productions of French Industry.

LETTER VII.
_Central Museum of the Arts_--_Gallery of Antiques_--Description of
the different halls and of the most remarkable statues contained in
them, with original observations by the learned connoisseur,
_Visconti_.

LETTER VIII.
Description of the _Gallery of Antiques_, and of its _chefs-d'oeuvre_
of sculpture continued and terminated--Noble example set by the
French in throwing open their museums and national establishments to
public inspection--Liberal indulgence shewn to foreigners.

LETTER IX.
General A----y's breakfast--Montmartre--Prospect thence enjoyed
--Theatres.

LETTER X.
Regulations of the Police to be observed by a stranger on his arrival
in the French capital--Pieces represented at the _Theatre Louvois_
--_Palais du gouvernement_ or Palace of the Tuileries described--It was
constructed, by Catherine de Medicis, enlarged by Henry IV and Lewis
XIII, and finished By Lewis XIV--The tenth of August, 1792, as
pourtrayed by an actor in that memorable scene--Number of lives lost
on the occasion--Sale of the furniture, the king's wardrobe, and
other effects found in the palace--_Place du Carrousel_--Famous
horses of gilt bronze brought from Venice and placed here--The fate
of France suspended by a thread--Fall of _Robespiere_ and his
adherents.

LETTER XI.
Massacre of the prisoners at Paris in September, 1792--Private ball
--The French much improved in dancing--The waltz described--Dress of
the women.

LETTER XII.
_Bonaparte_--Grand monthly parade--Agility of the First Consul in
mounting his charger--Consular guards, a remarkably fine body of men
--Horses of the French cavalry, sorry in appearance, but capable of
enduring fatigue and privations.

LETTER XIII.
_Jardin des Tuileries_--This garden now kept in better order than
under the monarchy--The newly-built house of _Very_, the
_restaurateur_--This quarter calls to mind the most remarkable events
in the history of the revolution--_Place de la Concorde_--Its name is
a strong contrast to the great number of victims here sacrificed
--Execution of the King and Queen, _Philippe Egalite_, _Charlotte
Corday_, Madame _Roland_, _Robespiere_, _cum multus aliis_
--Unexampled dispatch introduced in putting persons to death by means
of the guillotine--_Guillotin_, the inventor or improver of this
instrument, dies of grief--Little impression left on the mind of the
spectators of these sanguinary scenes--Lord _Cornwallis_ arrives in
Paris.

LETTER XIV.
National fete, in honour of peace, celebrated in Paris on the 18th of
Brumaire, year X (9th of November, 1801)--_Garnerin_ and his wife
ascend in a balloon--Brilliancy of the illuminations--Laughable
accident.

LETTER XV.
Description of the fete continued--Apparent apathy of the people
--Songs composed in commemoration of this joyful event--Imitation of
one of them.

LETTER XVI.
_Gallery of the Louvre_--_Saloon of the Louvre_--Italian School--The
most remarkable pictures in the collection mentioned, with original
remarks on the masters by _Visconti_--Lord _Cornwallis's_ reception
in Paris.

LETTER XVII.
_Gallery of the Louvre_ in continuation--French School--Flemish
School--The pictures in the _Saloon_ are seen to much greater
advantage than those in the _Gallery_--_Gallery of Apollo_--These
superb repositories of the finest works of art are indiscriminately
open to the public.

LETTER XVIII.
_Palais Royal_, now called _Palais du Tribunat_--Its construction
begun, in 1629, by Cardinal _Richelieu_, who makes a present of it to
_Lewis_ XIII--It becomes the property of the Orleans family--Anecdote
of the Regent--Considerable alterations made in this palace--_Jardin
du Palais du Tribunat_--This garden is surrounded by a range of
handsome buildings, erected in 1782 by the duke of Orleans, then duke
of Chartres--The _Cirque_ burnt down in 1797--Contrast between the
company seen here in 1789 and in 1801--The _Palais Royal_, the
theatre of political commotions--Mutual enmity of the queen and the
duke of Orleans, which, in the sequel, brought these great personages
to the scaffold--Their improper example imitated by the nobility of
both sexes--The projects of each defeated--The duke's pusillanimity
was a bar to his ambition--He exhausted his immense fortune to gain
partisans, and secure the attachment of the people--His imprisonment,
trial, and death.

LETTER XIX.
The _Palais du Tribunat_, an epitome of all the trades in Paris
--Prohibited publications--Mock auctions--_Magazins de confiance a prix
fixe_--Two speculations, of a somewhat curious nature, established
there with success--_The Palais Royal_, a vortex of dissipation
--Scheme of _Merlin_ of Douay for cleansing this Augaean stable.

LETTER XX.
_The_, a sort of route--Contrast in the mode of life of the Parisians
before and since the revolution--_Petits soupers_ described--An
Englishman improves on all the French _bons vivans_ under the old
_regime_.

LETTER XXI.
Public places of various descriptions--Their title and number
--Contrast between the interior police now established in the theatres
in Paris, and that which existed before the revolution--Admirable
regulations at present adopted for the preservation of order at the
door of the theatres--Comparatively small number of carriages now
seen in waiting at the grand French opera.

LETTER XXII.
_Palais du Corps Legislatif_--Description of the hall of the sittings
of that body--Opening of the session--Speech of the President--Lord
_Cornwallis_ and suite present at this sitting--_Petits appartemens_
of the _ci-devant Palais Bourbon_ described.

LETTER XXIII.
_Halle au Ble_--Lightness of the roof of the dome--Annual consumption
of bread-corn in _Paris_--Astrologers--In former times, their number
in _Paris_ exceeded _30,000_--Fortune-tellers of the present day
--Church of _St. Eustache_--_Tourville_, the brave opponent of Admiral
_Russel_, had no epitaph--Festivals of reason described.

LETTER XXIV.
_Museum of French Monuments_--Steps taken by the Constituent Assembly
to arrest the progress of Vandalism--Many master-pieces of painting,
sculpture, and architecture, destroyed in various parts of France
--_Gregoire_, ex-bishop of Blois, publishes three reports, to expose
the madness of irreligious barbarism, which claim particular
distinction.--They saved from destruction many articles of value in
the provinces--Antique monuments found in 1711, in digging among the
foundation of the ancient church of Paris--Indefatigable exertions of
_Lenoir_, the conservator of this museum--The halls of this museum
fitted up according to the precise character peculiar to each
century, and the monuments arranged in them in historical and
chronological order--Tombs of _Clovis_, _Childebert_, and
_Chilperic_--Statues of _Charlemagne_, _Lewis IX_, and of _Charles_,
his brother, together with those of the kings that successively
appeared in this age down to king _John_--Tombs of _Charles V_, _Du
Gueselin_, and _Sancerre_--Mausolea of _Louis d'Orleans_ and of
_Valentine de Milan_--Statues of _Charles VI_, _Renee d'Orleans_,
_Philippe de Commines_, _Lewis XI_, _Charles VII_, _Joan_ of _Arc_,
_Isabeau de Baviere_--Tomb of _Lewis XII_--Tragical death of
_Charles_ the _Bad_.

LETTER XXV.
_Museum of French Monuments_ continued--Tombs of _Francis I_, of the
_Valois_, and of _Diane de Poitiers_--Character of that celebrated
woman--Statues of _Turenne_, _Conde_, _Colbert_, _La Fontaine_,
_Racine_, and _Lewis XIV_--Mausolea of Cardinals _Richelieu_ and
_Mazarin_--Statues of _Montesquieu_, _Fontenelle_, _Voltaire_,
_Rousseau_, _Helvetius_, _Crebillon_, and _Piron_--Tombs of
_Maupertuis_, _Caylus_, and Marshal _d'Harcourt_--This museum
contains a chronology of monuments, both antique and modern, from
2500 years before our era down to the present time, beginning with
those of ancient Greece, and following all the gradations of the art
from its cradle to its decrepitude--Sepulchre of _Heloise_ and
_Abelard_.

LETTER XXVI.
Dinner at General _A----y's_--Difference in the duration of such a
repast now and before the revolution--The General's ancestor,
_Francois A----y_, planned and completed the famous canal of
Languedoc--_Depot de la guerre_--Such an establishment much wanted in
England--Its acknowledged utility has induced Austria, Spain, and
Portugal, to form others of a similar nature--Geographical and
topographical riches of this _depot_.

LETTER XXVII.
_Boulevards_--Their extent--Amusements they present--_Porte St.
Denis_--Anecdote of Charles VI--_Porte St. Martin_--_La Magdeleine_
--Ambulating conjurers--Means they employ to captivate curiosity.

LETTER XXVIII.
French funds and national debt--Supposed liquidation of an annuity
held by a foreigner before the war, and yet unliquidated--Value of a
franc.

LETTER XXIX.
Grand monthly parade--Etiquette observed on this occasion, in the
apartments of the palace of the _Tuileries_--_Bonaparte_--His person
--His public character in Paris--Obstruction which the First Consul
met with in returning from the parade--_Champs Elysees_--Sports and
diversions there practised--Horses, brought from Marly to this spot,
the master-pieces of the two celebrated sculptors, _Costou_
--Comparison they afford to politicians.

LETTER XXX.
_Madonna de Foligno_--Description of the method employed by the
French artists to transfer from pannel to canvass this celebrated
master-piece of _Raphael_.

LETTER XXXI.
_Pont Neuf_--Henry IV--His popularity--Historical fact concerning the
cause of his assassination brought to light--The Seine swollen by the
rains--It presents a dull scene in comparison to the Thames--Great
number of washerwomen--_La Samaritaine_--Shoe-blacks on the _Pont
Neuf_--Their trade decreased--Recruiting Officers--The allurements
they formerly employed are now become unnecessary in consequence of
the conscription--Anecdote of a British officer on whom a French
recruiter had cast his eye--Disappointment that ensued.

LETTER XXXII.
Balls now very numerous every evening in Paris--_Bal du Salon des
Etrangers_--Description of the women--Comparison between the French
and English ladies--Character of Madame _Tallien_--Generosity,
fortitude, and greatness of soul displayed by women during the most
calamitous periods of the revolution--Anecdote of a young Frenchman
smitten by a widow--An attachment, founded on somewhat similar
circumstances, recorded by historians of Henry III of France
--Sympathy, and its effects.

LETTER XXXIII.
_Pont National_, formerly called the _Pont Royal_--Anecdote of Henry
IV and a waterman--_Coup d'oeil_ from this bridge--Quays of Paris
--Galiot of St. Cloud--_Pont de la Concorde_--Paris besieged by the
Swedes, Danes, and Normans, in 885--The Seine covered with their
vessels for the space of two leagues--A vessel ascends the Seine from
Rouen to Paris in four days--Engineers have ever judged it
practicable to render the Seine navigable, from its mouth to the
capital, for vessels of a certain burden--Riches accruing from
commerce pave the way to the ruin of States, as well as the extension
of their conquests.

LETTER XXXIV.
French literature--Effects produced on it by the revolution--The
sciences preferred to literature, and for what reason--The French
government has flattered the literati and artists; but the solid
distinctions have been reserved for men of science--Epic Poetry
--Tragedy--Comedy--Novels--Moral Fable--Madrigal and Epigram--Romance
--Lyric Poetry--Song--Journals.

LETTER XXXV.
_Pont au Change_--_Palais de Justice_--Once a royal residence
--Banquet given there, in 1313, by Philip the Fair, at which were
present Edward II and his queen Isabella--Alterations which this
palace has undergone, in consequence of having, at different times,
been partly reduced to ashes--Madame _La Motte_ publicly whipped--In
1738, _Lewis XVI_ here held a famous bed of justice, in which
_D'Espresmenil_ struck the first blow at royalty--He was exiled to
the _Ile de St. Marguerite_--After having stirred up all the
parliaments against the royal authority, he again became the humble
servant of the crown--After the revolution, the _Palais de Justice_
was the seat of the Revolutionary Tribunal--_Dumas_, its president,
proposed to assemble there five or six hundred victims at a time--He
was the next day condemned to death by the same tribunal--The _Palais
de Justice_, now the seat of different tribunals--The _grande
chambre_ newly embellished in the antique style--_La Conciergerie_,
the place of confinement of _Lavoisier_, _Malsherbes_, _Cordorcet_,
_&c._--Fortitude displayed by the hapless _Marie-Antoinette_ after
her condemnation--_Pont St. Michel_--_Pont Notre-Dame_--Cathedral of
_Notre-Dame_--Anecdote of _Pepin_ the Short--Devastations committed
in this cathedral--Medallions of _Abelard_ and _Heloise_ to be seen
near _Notre-Dame_ in front of the house where _Fulbert_, her supposed
uncle, resided--_Petit Pont_--_Pont au Double_--_Pont Marie_--Workmen
now employed in the construction of three new bridges--_Pont de la
Tournelle_.

LETTER XXXVI.
Paris a charming abode for a man of fortune--Summary of its
advantages--_Idalium_--_Tivoli_--_Frascati_--_Paphos_--_La
Phantasmagorie_ of _Robertson_--_Fitzjames_, the famous
ventriloquist--Method of converting a galantee-show into an
exhibition somewhat similar to that of the phantasmagorists.

LETTER XXXVII.
Paris the most melancholy abode in the world for a man without money
--_Restaurateurs_--In 1765, _Boulanger_ first conceived the idea of
_restoring_ the exhausted animal functions of the delibitated
Parisians--He found many imitators--The _restaurateurs_, in order to
make their business answer, constitute themselves _traiteurs_--_La
Barriere_--_Beauvilliers_, _Robert_, _Naudet_, and _Very_ dispute the
palm in the art of Appicius--Description of _Beauvilliers'_
establishment--His bill of fare--Expense of dining at a fashionable
_restaurateur's_ in Paris--Contrast between establishments of this
kind existing before the revolution, and those in vogue at the
present day--Cheap eating-houses--The company now met with at the
fashionable rendezvous of good cheer compared with that seen here in
former times--_Cabinets particuliers_--Uses to which they are
applied--Advantages of a _restaurateur's_--_Beauvilliers_ pays great
attention to his guests--Cleanly and alert waiters--This
establishment is admirably well managed.


VOLUME SECOND.

LETTER XXXVIII.
National Institution of the Deaf and Dumb--France indebted to the
philanthropic _Abbe de l'Epee_ for the discovery of the mode of
instructing them--It has been greatly improved by _Sicard_, the
present Institutor--Explanation of his system of instruction--The
deaf and dumb are taught grammar, metaphysics, logic, religion, the
use of the globes, geography, arithmetic, history, natural history,
arts and trades--Almost every thing used by them is made by
themselves--Lessons of analysis which astonish the spectators.

LETTER XXXIX.
Public women--Charlemagne endeavours to banish them from Paris--His
daughters, though addicted to illicit enjoyments, die universally
regretted--_Les Filles Dieu_--_Les Filles penitentes ou repenties_
--Courtesans--Luxury displayed in their equipages and houses--Kept
women--Opera-dancers--Secret police maintained by Lewis XVI, in 1792
--Grisettes--Demireps--A French woman, at thirty, makes an excellent
friend--_Rousseau's_ opinion of this particular class of women in
Paris.

LETTER XL.
National Institution of the Industrious Blind--Circumstance which
gave rise to this establishment--_Valentin Hauey_, its founder, found
his project seconded by the Philanthropic Society--His plan of
instruction detailed--Museum of the Blind--After two or three
lessons, a blind child here teaches himself to read without the
further help of any master.

LETTER XLI.
_Theatre des Arts et de la Republique_, or Grand French opera--Old
opera-house burnt down, and a new one built and opened in 72 days
--Description of the present house--Operas of _Gluck_; also those of
_Piccini_ and _Sacchini_--Gluckists and Piccinists--The singing is
the weakest department at the French opera--Merits of the singers of
both sexes--Choruses very full--Orchestra famous--The Chief Consul,
being very partial to Italian music, sends to that land of harmony to
procure the finest musical compositions.

LETTER XLII.
Dancing improved in France--Effect of some of the ballets--_Noverre_
and _Gardel_ first introduce them on the French stage--Rapid change
of scenery--Merits of the dancers of both sexes--The rector of St.
Roch refuses to admit into that church the corpse of Mademoiselle
_Chameroi_--The dancers in private society now emulate those who make
dancing their profession--Receipts of the opera.

LETTER XLIII.
New year's day still celebrated in Paris on the 1st of January
--Customs which prevail there on that occasion--_Denon's_ account of
the French expedition to Egypt--That country was the cradle of the
arts and sciences--_Fourrier_ confirms the theory of _Dupuis_,
respecting the origin, &c. of the figures of the Zodiac.

LETTER XLIV.
_Hotel des Invalides_--It was projected by Henry IV and erected by
Lewis XIV--Temple of Mars--To its arches are suspended the standards
and colours taken from the enemy--Two British flags only are among
the number--Monument of _Turenne_--Circumstances of his death--Dome
of the _Invalides_--Its refectories and kitchens--Anecdote of Peter
the Great--Reflections on establishments of this description--_Champ
de Mars_--_Ecole Militaire_--Various scenes of which the _Champ de
Mars_ has been the theatre--Death of _Bailly_--Modern national fetes
in France, a humble imitation of the Olympic games.

LETTER XLV.
Object of the different learned and scientific institutions, which,
before the revolution, held their sittings in the _Louvre_--Anecdote
of Cardinal Richelieu--National Institute of Arts and Sciences
--Organization of that learned body--Description of the apartments of
the Institute--Account of its public quarterly meeting of the 15th
Nivose, year X, (5th of January, 1802)--Marriage of Mademoiselle
_Beauharnois_ to _Louis Bonaparte_.

LETTER XLVI.
_Opera Buffa_--The Italian comedians who came to Paris in 1788, had a
rapid influence on the musical taste of the French public--Performers
of the new Italian company--Productions of _Cimarosa_, _Paesiello_,
&c.--Madame _Bolla_.

LETTER XLVII.
Present state of public worship--Summary of the proceedings of the
constitutional clergy--National councils of the Gallican church held
at Paris--Conduct of the Pope, _Pius VII_--The Cardinal Legate,
_Caprara_, arrives in Paris--The Concordat is signed--Subsequent
transactions.

LETTER XLVIII.
_Pantheon_--Description of this edifice--_Marat_ and _Mirabeau_
pantheonized and dispantheonized--The remains of _Voltaire_ and
_Rousseau_ removed hither--The Pantheon in danger of falling--This
apprehension no longer exists--_Bonaparte_ leaves Paris for Lyons.

LETTER XLIX.
Scientific societies of Paris--_Societe Philotechnique_--_Societe
Libre des Sciences, Lettres, et Arts_--_Athenee des Arts_--_Societe
Philomatique_--_Societe Academique des Sciences_--_Societe
Galvanique_--_Societe des Belles-Lettres_--_Academie de Legislation_
--_Observateurs de l'Homme_--_Athenee de Paris_.

LETTER L.
Coffee-houses--Character of the company who frequent them--Contrast
between the coffee-houses of the present and former times--Coffee
first introduced at Paris, in 1669, by the Turkish ambassador--_Cafe
mechanique_--Subterraneous coffee-houses of the _Palais du
Tribunat_.

LETTER LI.
Public instruction--The ancient colleges and universities are
replaced by Primary Schools, Secondary Schools, Lyceums, and Special
Schools--National pupils--Annual cost of these establishments
--Contrast between the old system of education and the new plan,
recently organized.

LETTER LII.
Milliners--_Montesquieu's_ observation on the commands of the fair
sex--Millinery a very extensive branch of trade in Paris--_Bal de
l'Opera_--Dress of the men and women--Adventures are the chief object
of those who frequent these masquerades.

LETTER LIII.
_Theatre Francais de la Republique_--The house described--List of the
stock-pieces--Names of their authors--_Fabre d'Eglantine_--His
_Philinte de Moliere_ a _chef-d'oeuvre_--Some account of its author
--_La Chaussee_ the father of the _drame_, a tragi-comic species of
dramatic composition.

LETTER LIV.
Principal performers in tragedy at the _Theatre Francais_--_Vanhove_,
_Monvel_, _St. Prix_, and _Naudet_--_Talma_, and _Lafond_--_St. Fal_,
_Damas_, and _Dupont_--Mesdames _Raucourt_ and _Vestris_--Mesdames
_Fleury_, _Talma_, _Bourgoin_, and _Volnais_--Mesdames _Suin_ and
_Thenard_--_Debut_ of Mademoiselle _Duchesnois_; Madame _Xavier_, and
Mademoiselle _Georges_--Disorderly conduct of the _Duchesnistes_, who
are routed by the _Georgistes_.

LETTER LV.
Principal performers in comedy at the _Theatre Francais_--_Vanhove_,
and _Naudet_--_Mole_, _Fleury_, and _Baptiste_ the elder--_St. Fal_,
_Dupont_, _Damas_, and _Armand_--_Grandmenil_, and _Caumont_
--_Dugazon_, _Dazincourt_, and _Larochelle_--Mesdemoiselles _Contat_,
and _Mezeray_--Madame _Talma_--Mesdemoiselles _Mars, Bourgoin_, and
_Gros_--Mesdemoiselles _Lachassaigne_ and _Thenard_--Mesdemoiselles
_Devienne_ and _Desbrosses_--Contrast between the state of the French
stage before and since the revolution.

LETTER LVI.
French women fond of appearing in male attire--Costume of the French
Ladies--Contrast it now presents to that formerly worn--The change in
their dress has tended to strengthen their constitution--The women in
Paris extremely cleanly in their persons--Are now very healthy.

LETTER LVII.
The studies in the colleges and universities interrupted by bands of
insurgents--_College de France_--It is in this country the only
establishment where every branch of human knowledge is taught in its
fullest extent--Was founded by Francis I--Disputes between this new
College and the University--Its increasing progress--The improvements
in the sciences spread by the instruction of this College--Its
present state.

LETTER LVIII.
_Theatre de l'Opera Comique_--Authors who have furnished it with
stock-pieces, and composers who have set them to music--Principal
performers at this theatre--_Elleviou_, _Gavaudan_, _Philippe_, and
_Gaveaux_--_Chenard_, _Martin_, _Rezicourt_, _Juliet_, and _Moreau_
--_Solie_, and _St. Aubin_--_Dozainville_, and _Lesage_--Mesdames _St.
Aubin_, _Scio_, _Lesage_, _Cretu_, _Philis_ the elder, _Gavaudan_,
and _Pingenet_--Mesdames _Dugazon_, _Philippe_, and _Gonthier_.

LETTER LIX.
France owes her salvation to the _savans_ or men of science
--Polytechnic School--Its object--Its formation and subsequent
progress--Changes recently introduced into this interesting
establishment.

LETTER LX.
Pickpockets and sharpers--Anecdote of a female swindler--Anecdote of
a sharper--Housebreakers--_Chauffeurs_--A new species of assassins
--_Place de Greve_--Punishment for thieves re-established--On the
continent, ladies flock to the execution of criminals.

LETTER LXI.
Schools for Public Services--The Polytechnic School, the grand
nursery whence the pupils are transplanted into the Schools of
Artillery, Military Engineers, Bridges and Highways, Mines, Naval
Engineers, and Navigation--Account of these schools--_Prytanee
Francais_--Special Schools--Special School of Painting and Sculpture
--Competitions--National School of Architecture--Conservatory of
Music--Present state of Music in France--Music has done wonders in
reviving the courage of the French soldiers--The French are no less
indebted to _Rouget de Lille_, author of the _Marseillois_, than the
Spartans were to _Tyrtaeus_--Gratuitous School for Drawing--Veterinary
School--New Special Schools to Le established in France.

LETTER LXII.
Funerals--No medium in them under the old _regime_--Ceremonies
formerly observed--Those practised at the present day--Marriages
--Contrast they present.

LETTER LXIII.
Public Libraries--_Bibliotheque Nationale_--Its acquisitions since
the revolution--School for Oriental Living Languages.

LETTER LXIV.
_Bibliotheque Mazarine_--_Bibliotheque du Pantheon_--_Bibliotheque de
l'Arsenal_--The Arsenal--Other libraries and literary _depots_ in
Paris.

LETTER LXV.
Dancing--Nomenclature of caperers in Paris, from the wealthiest
classes down to the poorest--Beggars form the last link of the chain.

LETTER LXVI.
_Bureau des Longitudes_--Is on a more extensive scale than the Board
of Longitude in England--National Observatory--Subterraneous quarries
that have furnished the stone with which most of the houses in Paris
are constructed--Measures taken to prevent the buildings in Paris
from being swallowed up in these extensive labyrinths--Present state
of the Observatory--_Lalande_, _Mechain_, and _Bouvard_--_Carroche_,
and _Lenoir_--_Lavoisier_, and _Borda_--_Delambre_, _Laplace_,
_Burckhardt_, _Vidal_, _Biot_, and _Puisson_--New French weights and
measures--Concise account of the operations employed in measuring an
arc of the terrestrial meridian--Table of the new French measures and
weights--Their correspondence with the old, and also with those of
England.

LETTER LXVII.
_Depot de la Marine_--An establishment much wanted in England.

LETTER LXVIII.
_Theatre Louvois_--_Picard_, the manager of this theatre, is the
_Moliere_ of his company--_La Grande Ville, ou les Provinciaux a
Paris_--Principal performers at this theatre--_Picard_, _Devigny_,
_Dorsan_, and _Clozel_--Mesdemoiselles _Adeline_, _Moliere_,
_Lescot_, and Madame _Mole_--_Theatre du Vaudeville_--Authors who
write for this theatre--Principal performers--Public malignity, the
main support of this theatre.

LETTER LXIX.
_Hotel de la Monnaie_--Description of this building--_Musee des
Mines_--Formed by M. _Sage_--The arrangement of this cabinet is
excellent--_Cabinet du Conseil des Mines_--Principal mineral
substances discovered in France since the revolution.

LETTER LXX.
_Theatre Montansier_--Principal performers--_Ambigu Comique_--The
curiosity of a stranger may be satisfied in a single visit to each of
the minor theatres in Paris.

LETTER LXXI.
Police of Paris--Historical sketch of it--Its perfections and
imperfections--Anecdote of a minister of police--_Mouchards_
--Anecdote which shews the detestation in which they are held--The
Parisian police extends to foreign countries--This truth exemplified
by two remarkable facts--No _habeas corpus_ in France.

LETTER LXXII.
The _savans_ saved France, when their country was invaded
--Astonishing exertions made by the French on that occasion--Anecdote
relating to _Robespierre_--Extraordinary resources created by the men
of science--Means employed for increasing the manufacture of powder,
cannon, and muskets--The produce of these new manufactories
contrasted with that of the old ones--Territorial acquisitions of the
French--The Carnival revived in Paris.

LETTER LXXIII.
Public gaming-houses--_Academies de jeu_, which existed in Paris
before the revolution--Gaming-houses licensed by the police--The
privilege of granting those licences is farmed by a private
individual--Description of the _Maisons de jeu_--Anecdote of an old
professed gambler--Gaming prevails in all the principal towns of
France--The excuse of the old government for promoting gaming, is
reproduced at the present day.

LETTER LXXIV.
Museum of Natural History, or _Jardin des Plantes_--Is much enlarged
since the revolution--One of the first establishments of instruction
in Europe--Contrast between its former state and that in which it now
is--_Fourcroy_, the present director--His eloquence--Collections in
this establishment--Curious articles which claim particular notice.

LETTER LXXV.
The Carnival--That of 1802 described--The Carnival of modern times,
an imitation of the Saturnalia of the ancients--Was for some years
prohibited, since the revolution--Contrast between the Carnival under
the monarchy and under the republican government.

LETTER LXXVI.
_Palais du Senat Conservateur_, or _Luxembourg_ Palace--Mary of
Medicis, by whom it was erected, died in a garret--It belonged to
_Monsieur_, before the revolution--Improvements in the garden of the
Senate--National nursery formed in an adjoining piece of ground
--_Bastille_--_Le Temple_--Its origin--Lewis XVI and his family
confined in this modern state-prison.

LETTER LXXVII.
Present slate of the French Press--The liberty of the press, the
measure of civil liberty--Comparison, between the state of the press
in France and in England.

LETTER LXXVIII.
Hospitals and other charitable institutions--_Hotel-Dieu_--Extract
from the report of the _Academy of Sciences_ on this abode of
pestilence--Reforms introduced into it since the revolution--The
present method of purifying French hospitals deserves to be adopted
in England--Other hospitals in Paris--_Hospice de la Maternite_--_La
Salpetriere_--_Bicetre_--Faculties and Colleges of Physicians, as
will as Colleges and Commonalties of Surgeons, replaced in France by
Schools of Health--School of Medicine of Paris--France overrun by
quacks--New law for checking the serious mischief they occasion
--Society of Medicine--Gratuitous School of Pharmacy--Free Society of
Apothecaries--Changes in the teaching and practice of medicine in
France.

LETTER LXXIX.
Private seminaries for youth of both sexes--Female education
--Contrast between that formerly received in convents, and that now
practised in the modern French boarding-schools.

LETTER LXXX.
Progressive aggrandisement of Paris--Its origin--Under the name of
Lutetia, it was the capital of Gaul--Julian's account of it--The
sieges it has sustained--Successively embellished by different kings
--Progressive amelioration of the manners of its inhabitants--Rapid
view of the causes which improved them, from the reign of Philip
Augustus to that of Lewis XIV--Contrast between the number of public
buildings before and since the revolution--Population of Paris, from
official documents--Ancient division of Paris--Is now divided into
twelve mayoralties--_Barrieres_ and high wall by which it is
surrounded--Anecdote of the _commis des barrieres_ seizing an
Egyptian mummy.

LETTER LXXXI.
French Furniture--The events of the revolution have contributed to
improve the taste of persons connected with the furnishing line
--Contrast between the style of the furniture in the Parisian houses
in 1789-90 and 1801-2--_Les Gobelins_, the celebrated national
manufactory for tapestry--_La Savonnerie_, a national manufactory for
carpeting--National manufactory of plate-glass.

LETTER LXXXII.
Academy of Fine Arts at the _ci-devant College de Navarre_
--Description of the establishment of the _Piranesi_--Three hundred
artists of different nations distributed in the seven classes of this
academy--Different works executed here in Painting, Sculpture,
Architecture, Mosaic, and Engraving.

LETTER LXXXIII.
Conservatory of Arts and Trades--It contains a numerous collection of
machines of every description employed in the mechanical arts
--_Belier hydraulique_, newly invented by _Montgolfier_--Models of
curious buildings--The mechanical arts in France have experienced
more or less the impulse given to the sciences--The introduction of
the Spanish merinos has greatly improved the French wools--New
inventions and discoveries adopted in the French manufactories
--Characteristic difference of the present state of French industry,
and that in which it was before the revolution.

LETTER LXXXIV.
Society for the encouragement of national industry--Its origin--Its
objects detailed--Free Society of Agriculture--Amidst the storms of
the revolution, agriculture has teen improved in France--Causes of
that improvement--The present state of agriculture briefly contrasted
with that which existed before the revolution--_Didot's_ stereotypic
editions of the classics--Advantages attending the use of stereotype
--This invention claimed by France, but proved to belong to Britain
--Printing-office of the Republic, the most complete typographical
establishment in being.

LETTER LXXXV.
Present State of Society in Paris--In that city are three very
distinct kinds of society--Description of each of these--Other
societies are no more than a diminutive of the preceding--Philosophy
of the French in forgeting their misfortunes and losses--The
signature of the definitive treaty announced by the sound of cannon
--In the evening a grand illumination is displayed.

LETTER LXXXVI.
Urbanity of the Parisians towards strangers--The shopkeepers in Paris
overcharge their articles--Furnished Lodgings--Their price--The
_Milords Anglais_ now eclipsed by the Russian Counts--Expense of
board in Paris--Job and Hackney Carriages--Are much improved since
the revolution--Fare of the latter--Expense of the former
--Cabriolets--Regulations of the police concerning these carriages
--The negligence of drivers now meets with due chastisement--French
women astonish bespattered foreigners by walking the streets with
spotless stockings--Valets-de-place--Their wages augmented--General
Observations--An English traveller, on visiting Paris, should provide
himself with letters of recommendation--Unless an Englishman acquires
a competent knowledge of the manners of the country, he fails in what
ought to be the grand object of foreign travel--Situation of one who
brings no letters to Paris--The French now make a distinction between
individuals only, not between nations--Are still indulgent to the
English--Animadversion on the improper conduct of irrational British
youths.

LETTER LXXXVII.
Divorce--The indissolubility of marriage in France, before the
revolution, was supposed to promote adultery--No such excuse can now
be pleaded--Origin of the present laws on divorce--Comparison on that
subject between the French and the Romans--The effect of these laws
illustrated by examples--The stage ought to be made to conduce to the
amelioration of morals--In France, the men blame the women, with a
view of extenuating their own irregularities--To reform women, men
ought to begin by reforming themselves.

LETTER LXXXVIII.
The author is recalled to England--Mendicants--The streets of Paris
less infested by them now than before the revolution--Pawnbrokers
--Their numbers much increased in Paris, and why--_Mont de Piete_
--Lotteries now established in the principal towns in France--The
fatal consequences of this incentive to gaming--Newspapers--Their
numbers considerably augmented--Journals the most in request--Baths
--_Bains Vigier_ described--School of Natation--Telegraphs--Those in
Paris differ from those in use in England--Telegraphic language may
be abridged--Private collections most deserving of notice in Paris
--_Depot d'armes_ of _M. Boutet_--_M. Regnier_, an ingenious mechanic
--The author's reason for confining his observations to the capital
--Metamorphoses in Paris--The site of the famous Jacobin convent is
intended for a market-place--Arts and Sciences are become popular in
France, since the revolution--The author makes _amende honorable_, or
confesses his inability to accomplish the task imposed on him by his
friend--He leaves Paris.



NEW ORGANIZATION OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE.[1]

On the 3d of Pluviose, year XI (23d of January, 1803), the French
government passed the following decree on this subject.

_Art_. I. The National Institute, at present divided into three
classes, shall henceforth consist of four; namely:

  _First Class_--Class of physical and mathematical sciences.


  _Second Class_--Class of the French language and literature.

  _Third Class_--Class of history and ancient literature.

  _Fourth Class_--Class of fine arts.

The present members of the Institute and associated foreigners shall
be divided into these four classes. A commission of five members of
the Institute, appointed by the First Consul, shall present to him
the plan of this division, which shall be submitted to the
approbation of the government.

II. The first class, shall be formed of the ten sections, which at
present compose the first class of the Institute, of a new section of
geography and navigation, and of eight foreign associates.

These sections shall be composed and distinguished as follows:

  MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES.


  Geometry                             six members.
  Mechanics                            six   ditto.
  Astronomy                            six   ditto.
  Geography and Navigation             three ditto.
  General Physics                      six   ditto.

  PHYSICAL SCIENCES.

  Chemistry                            six   ditto.
  Mineralogy                           six   ditto.
  Botany                               six   ditto.
  Rural Economy and the Veterinary Art six   ditto.
  Anatomy and Zoology                  six   ditto.
  Medicine and Surgery                 six   ditto.

The first class shall name, with the approbation of the Chief Consul,
two perpetual secretaries; the one for the mathematical sciences; the
other, for the physical. The perpetual secretaries shall be members
of the class, but shall make no part of any section.

The first class may elect six of its members from among the other
classes of the Institute. It may name a hundred correspondents, taken
from among the learned men of the nation, and those of foreign
countries.

III. The second class shall be composed of forty members.

It is particularly charged with the compilation and improvement of
the dictionary of the French tongue. With respect to language, it
shall examine important works of literature, history, and sciences.
The collection of its critical observations shall be published at
least four times a year.

It shall appoint from its own members, and with the approbation of
the First Consul, a perpetual secretary, who shall continue to make
one of the sixty members of whom the class is composed.

It may elect twelve of its members from among those of the other
classes of the Institute.

IV. The third class shall be composed of forty members and eight
foreign associates.

The learned languages, antiquities and ornaments, history, and all
the moral and political sciences in as far as they relate to history,
shall be the objects of its researches and labours. It shall
particularly endeavour to enrich French literature with the works of
Greek, Latin, and Oriental authors, which have not yet been
translated.

It shall employ itself in the continuation of diplomatic collections.

With the approbation of the First Consul, it shall name from its own
members a perpetual secretary, who shall make one of the forty
members of whom the class is composed.

It may elect nine of its members from among those of the classes of
the Institute.

It may name sixty national or foreign correspondents.

V. The fourth class shall be composed of twenty-eight members and
eight foreign associates. They shall be divided into sections, named
and composed as follows:

  Painting                   ten   members.
  Sculpture                  six   ditto.
  Architecture               six   ditto.
  Engraving                  three ditto.
  Music (composition)        three ditto.

With the approbation of the First Consul, it shall appoint a
perpetual secretary, who shall be a member of the class, but shall
not make part of the sections.

It may elect six of its members from among the other classes of the
Institute.

It may name thirty-six national or foreign correspondents.

VI. The associated foreign members shall have a deliberative vote
only for objects relating to sciences, literature, and arts. They
shall not make part of any section, and shall receive no salary.

VII. The present associates of the Institute, scattered throughout
the Republic, shall make part of the one hundred and ninety-six
correspondents, attached to the classes of the sciences,
belles-lettres, and fine arts.

The correspondents cannot assume the title of members of the
Institute. They shall drop that of correspondents, when they take up
their constant residence in Paris.

VIII. The nominations to the vacancies shall be made by each of the
classes in which those vacancies shall happen to occur. The persons
elected shall be approved by the First Consul.

IX. The members of the four classes shall have a right to attend
reciprocally the private sittings of each of them, and to read papers
there when they have made the request.

They shall assemble four times a year as the body of the Institute,
in order to give to each other an account of their transactions.

They shall elect in common the librarian and under-librarian, as well
as all the agents who belong in common to the Institute.

Each class shall present for the approbation of the government the
particular statutes and regulations of its interior police.

X. Each class shall hold every year a public sitting, at which the
other three shall assist.

XI. The Institute shall receive annually, from the public treasury,
1500 francs for each of its members, not associates; 6000 francs for
each of its perpetual secretaries; and, for its expenses, a sum which
shall be determined on, every year, at the request of the Institute,
and comprised in the budget of the Minister of the Interior.

XII. The Institute shall have an administrative commission, composed
of five members, two of the first class, and one of each of the other
three, appointed by their respective classes.

This commission shall cause to be regulated in the general sittings,
prescribed in Art. IX, every thing relative to the administration, to
the general purposes of the Institute, and to the division of the
funds between the four classes.

Each class shall afterwards regulate the employment of the funds
which shall have been assigned for its expenses, as well as every
thing that concerns the printing and publication of its memoirs.

XIII. Every year, each class shall distribute prizes, the number and
value of which shall be regulated as follows:

The first class, a prize of 3000 francs.

The second and third classes, each a prize of 1500 francs.

And the fourth class, great prizes of painting, sculpture,
architecture, and musical composition. Those who shall have gained
one of these four great prizes, shall be sent to Rome, and maintained
at the expense of the government.

XIV. The Minister of the Interior is charged with the execution of
the present decree, which shall be inserted in the Bulletin of the
Laws.

[Footnote 1: Referred to in Letter XLV, Vol. II of this work.]



INTRODUCTION.

On ushering into the world a literary production, custom has
established that its parent should give some account of his
offspring. Indeed, this becomes the more necessary at the present
moment, as the short-lived peace, which gave birth to the following
sheets, had already ceased before they were entirely printed; and the
war in which England and France are now engaged, is of a nature
calculated not only to rouse all the energy and ancient spirit of my
countrymen, but also to revive their prejudices, and inflame their
passions, in a degree proportionate to the enemy's boastful and
provoking menace.

I therefore premise that those who may be tempted to take up this
publication, merely with a view of seeking aliment for their enmity,
will, in more respects than one, probably find themselves
disappointed. The two nations were not rivals in arms, but in the
arts and sciences, at the time these letters were written, and
committed to the press; consequently, they have no relation whatever
to the present contest. Nevertheless, as they refer to subjects which
manifest the indefatigable activity of the French in the
accomplishment of any grand object, such parts may, perhaps, furnish
hints that may not be altogether unimportant at this momentous
crisis.

The plan most generally adhered to throughout this work, being
detailed in LETTER V, a repetition of it here would be superfluous;
and the principal matters to which the work itself relates, are
specified in the title. I now come to the point.

A long residence in France, and particularly in the capital, having
afforded me an opportunity of becoming tolerably well acquainted with
its state before the revolution, my curiosity was strongly excited to
ascertain the changes which that political phenomenon might have
effected. I accordingly availed myself of the earliest dawn of peace
to cross the water, and visit Paris. Since I had left that city in
1789-90, a powerful monarchy, established on a possession of fourteen
centuries, and on that sort of national prosperity which seemed to
challenge the approbation of future ages, had been destroyed by the
force of opinion which, like, a subterraneous fire, consumed its very
foundations, and plunged the nation into a sea of troubles, in which
it was, for several years, tossed about, amid the wreck of its
greatness.

This is a phenomenon of which antiquity affords no parallel; and it
has produced a rapid succession of events so extraordinary as almost
to exceed belief.

It is not the crimes to which it has given birth that will be thought
improbable: the history of revolutions, as well ancient as modern,
furnishes but too many examples of them; and few have been committed,
the traces of which are not to be found in the countries where the
imagination of the multitude has been exalted by strong and new
ideas, respecting Liberty and Equality. But what posterity will find
difficult to believe, is the agitation of men's minds, and the
effervescence of the passions, carried to such a pitch, as to stamp
the French revolution with a character bordering on the marvellous
--Yes; posterity will have reason to be astonished at the facility
with which the human mind can be modified and made to pass from one
extreme to another; at the suddenness, in short, with which the ideas
and manners of the French were changed; so powerful, on the one hand,
is the ascendency of certain imaginations; and, on the other, so
great is the weakness of the vulgar!

It is in the recollection of most persons, that the agitation of the
public mind in France was such, for a while, that, after having
overthrown the monarchy and its supports; rendered private property
insecure; and destroyed individual freedom; it threatened to invade
foreign countries, at the same time pushing before it Liberty, that
first blessing of man, when it is founded on laws, and the most
dangerous of chimeras, when it is without rule or restraint.

The greater part of the causes which excited this general commotion,
existed before the assembly of the States-General in 1789. It is
therefore important to take a mental view of the moral and political
situation of France at that period, and to follow, in imagination at
least, the chain of ideas, passions, and errors, which, having
dissolved the ties of society, and worn out the springs of
government, led the nation by gigantic strides into the most complete
anarchy.

Without enumerating the different authorities which successively
ruled in France after the fall of the throne, it appears no less
essential to remind the reader that, in this general disorganization,
the inhabitants themselves, though breathing the same air, scarcely
knew that they belonged to the same nation. The altars overthrown;
all the ancient institutions annihilated; new festivals and
ceremonies introduced; factious demagogues honoured with an
apotheosis; their busts exposed to public veneration; men and cities
changing names; a portion of the people infected with atheism, and
disguised in the livery of guilt and folly; all this, and more,
exercised the reflection of the well-disposed in a manner the most
painful. In a word, though France was peopled with the same
individuals, it seemed inhabited by a new nation, entirely different
from the old one in its government, its creed, its principles, its
manners, and even its customs.

War itself assumed a new face. Every thing relating to it became
extraordinary: the number of the combatants, the manner of recruiting
the armies, and the means of providing supplies for them; the
manufacture of powder, cannon, and muskets; the ardour, impetuosity,
and forced marches of the troops; their extortions, their successes,
and their reverses; the choice of the generals, and the superior
talents of some of them, together with the springs, by which these
enormous bodies of armed men were moved and directed, were equally
new and astonishing.

History tells us that in poor countries, where nothing inflames
cupidity and ambition, the love alone of the public good causes
changes to be tried in the government; and that those changes derange
not the ordinary course of society; whereas, among rich nations,
corrupted by luxury, revolutions are always effected through secret
motives of jealousy and interest; because there are great places to
be usurped, and great fortunes to be invaded. In France, the
revolution covered the country with ruins, tears, and blood, because
means were not to be found to moderate in the people that
_revolutionary spirit_ which parches, in the bud, the promised fruits
of liberty, when its violence is not repressed.

Few persons were capable of keeping pace with the rapid progress of
the revolution. Those who remained behind were considered as guilty
of desertion. The authors of the first constitution were accused of
being _royalists_; the old partisans of republicanism were punished
as _moderates_; the land-owners, as _aristocrates_; the monied men,
as _corrupters_; the bankers and financiers, as _blood-suckers_; the
shop-keepers, as _promoters of famine_; and the newsmongers, as
_alarmists_. The factious themselves, in short, were alternately
proscribed, as soon as they ceased to belong to the ruling faction.

In this state of things, society became a prey to the most baneful
passions. Mistrust entered every heart; friendship had no attraction;
relationship, no tie; and men's minds, hardened by the habit of
misfortune, or overwhelmed by fear, no longer opened to pity.

Terror compressed every imagination; and the revolutionary
government, exercising it to its fullest extent, struck off a
prodigious number of heads, filled the prisons with victims, and
continued to corrupt the morals of the nation by staining it with
crimes.

But all things have an end. The tyrants fell; the dungeons were
thrown open; numberless victims emerged from them; and France seemed
to recover new life; but still bewildered by the _revolutionary
spirit_, wasted by the concealed poison of anarchy, exhausted by her
innumerable sacrifices, and almost paralyzed by her own convulsions,
she made but impotent efforts for the enjoyment of liberty and
justice. Taxes became more burdensome; commerce was annihilated;
industry, without aliment; paper-money, without value; and specie,
without circulation. However, while the French nation was degraded at
home by this series of evils, it was respected abroad through the
rare merit of some of its generals, the splendour of its victories,
and the bravery of its soldiers.

During these transactions, there was formed in the public mind that
moral resistance which destroys not governments by violence, but
undermines them. The intestine commotions were increasing; the
conquests of the French were invaded; their enemies were already on
their frontiers; and the division which had broken out between the
Directory and the Legislative Body, again threatened France with a
total dissolution, when a man of extraordinary character and talents
had the boldness to seize the reins of authority, and stop the
further progress of the revolution.[1] Taking at the full the tide
which leads on to fortune, he at once changed the face of affairs,
not only within the limits of the Republic, but throughout Europe.
Yet, after all their triumphs, the French have the mortification to
have failed in gaining that for which they first took up arms, and
for which they have maintained so long and so obstinate a struggle.

When a strong mound has been broken down, the waters whose amassed
volume it opposed, rush forward, and, in their impetuous course,
spread afar terror and devastation. On visiting the scene where this
has occurred, we naturally cast our eyes in every direction, to
discover the mischief which they have occasioned by their irruption;
so, then, on reaching the grand theatre of the French revolution, did
I look about for the traces of the havock it had left behind; but,
like a river which had regained its level, and flowed again in its
natural bed, this political torrent had subsided, and its ravages
were repaired in a manner the most surprising.

However, at the particular request of an estimable friend, I have
endeavoured to draw the contrast which, in 1789-90 and 1801-2, Paris
presented to the eye of an impartial observer. In this arduous
attempt I have not the vanity to flatter myself that I have been
successful, though I have not hesitated to lay under contribution
every authority likely to promote my object. The state of the French
capital, before the revolution, I have delineated from the notes I
had myself collected on the spot, and for which purpose I was, at
that time, under the necessity of consulting almost as many books as
Don Quixote read on knight-errantry; but the authors from whom I have
chiefly borrowed, are St. FOIX, MERCIER, DULAURE, PUJOULX, and BIOT.

My invariable aim has been to relate, _sine ira nec studio_, such
facts and circumstances as have come to my knowledge, and to render
to every one that justice which I should claim for myself. After a
revolution which has trenched on so many opposite interests, the
reader cannot be surprised, if information, derived from such a
variety of sources, should sometimes seem to bear the character of
party-spirit. Should this appear _on the face of the record_, I can
only say that I have avoided entering into politics, in order that no
bias of that sort might lead me to discolour or distort the truths I
have had occasion to state; and I have totally rejected those
communications which, from their tone of bitterness, personality, and
virulence, might be incompatible with the general tenour of an
impartial production.

Till the joint approbation of some competent judges, who visited the
French capital after having perused, in manuscript, several of these
letters, had stamped on them a comparative degree of value, no one
could think more lightly of them than the author. Urged repeatedly to
produce them to the public, I have yielded with reluctance, and in
the fullest confidence that, notwithstanding the recent change of
circumstances, a liberal construction will be put on my sentiments
and motives. I have taken care that my account of the national
establishments in France should be perfectly correct; and, in fact, I
have been favoured with the principal information it contains by
their respective directors. In regard to the other topics on which I
have touched, I have not failed to consult the best authorities, even
in matters, which, however trifling in themselves, acquire a relative
importance, from being illustrative of some of the many-coloured
effects of a revolution, which has humbled the pride of many,
deranged the calculations of all, disappointed the hopes of not a
few, and deceived those even by whom it had been engendered and
conducted.

Yet, whatever pains I have taken to be strictly impartial, it cannot
be denied that, in publishing a work of this description at a time
when the self-love of most men is mortified, and their resentment
awakened, I run no small risk of displeasing all parties, because I
attach myself to none, but find them all more or less deserving of
censure. Without descending either to flattery or calumny, I speak
both well and ill of the French, because I copy nature, and neither
draw an imaginary portrait, nor write a systematic narrative. If I
have occasionally given vent to my indignation in glancing at the
excesses of the revolution, I have not withheld my tribute of
applause from those institutions, which, being calculated to benefit
mankind by the gratuitous diffusion of knowledge, would reflect
honour on any nation. In other respects, I have not been unmindful of
that excellent precept of TACITUS, in which he observes that "The
principal duty of the historian is to rescue from oblivion virtuous
actions, and to make bad men dread infamy and posterity for what they
have said and done."[2]

In stating facts, it is frequently necessary to support them by a
relation of particular circumstances, which may corroborate them in
an unquestionable manner. Feeling this truth, I have some times
introduced myself on my canvass, merely to shew that I am not an
ideal traveller. I mean one of those pleasant fellows who travel post
in their elbow-chair, sail round the world on a map suspended to one
side of their room, cross the seas with a pocket-compass lying on
their table, experience a shipwreck by their fireside, make their
escape when it scorches their shins, and land on a desert island in
their _robe de chambre_ and slippers.

I have, therefore, here and there mentioned names, time, and place,
to prove that, _bona fide_, I went to Paris immediately after the
ratification of the preliminary treaty. To banish uniformity in my
description of that metropolis, I have, as much as possible, varied
my subjects. Fashions, sciences, absurdities, anecdotes, education,
fetes, useful arts, places of amusement, music, learned and
scientific institutions, inventions, public buildings, industry,
agriculture, &c. &c. &c. being all jumbled together in my brain, I
have thence drawn them, like tickets from a lottery; and it will not,
I trust, be deemed presumptuous in me to indulge a hope that, in
proportion to the blanks, there will be found no inadequate number of
prizes.

I have pointed out the immense advantages which France is likely to
derive from her Schools for Public Services, and other establishments
of striking utility, such as the _Depot de la Guerre_ and the _Depot
de la Marine_, in order that the British government may be prompted
to form institutions, which, if not exactly similar, may at least
answer the same purpose. Instead of copying the French in objects of
fickleness and frivolity, why not borrow from them what is really
deserving of imitation?

It remains for me to observe, by way of stimulating the ambition of
British genius, that, in France, the arts and sciences are now making
a rapid and simultaneous progress; first, because the revolution has
made them popular in that country; and, secondly, because they are
daily connected by new ties, which, in a great measure, render them
inseparable. Facts are there recurred to, less with a view to draw
from them immediate applications than to develop the truths resulting
from them. The first step is from these facts to their most simple
consequences, which are little more than bare assertions. From these
the _savans_ proceed to others more minute, till, at length, by
imperceptible degrees, they arrive at the most abstracted
generalities. With them, method is an induction incessantly verified
by experiment. Whence, it gives to human intelligence, not wings
which lead it astray, but reins which guide it. United by this common
philosophy, the sciences and arts in France advance together; and the
progress made by one of them serves to promote that of the rest.
There, the men who profess them, considering that their knowledge
belongs not to themselves alone, not to their country only, but to
all mankind, are continually striving to increase the mass of public
knowledge. This they regard as a real duty, which they are proud to
discharge; thus treading in the steps of the most memorable men of
past ages.

Then, while the more unlearned and unskilled among us are emulating
the patriotic enthusiasm of the French in volunteering, as they did,
to resist invasion, let our men of science and genius exert
themselves not to be surpassed by the industrious _savans_ and
artists of that nation; but let them act on the principle inculcated
by the following sublime idea of our illustrious countryman, the
founder of modern philosophy. "It may not be amiss," says BACON, "to
point out three different kinds, and, as it were, degrees of
ambition. The first, that of those who desire to enhance, in their
own country, the power they arrogate to themselves: this kind of
ambition is both vulgar and degenerate. The second, that of those who
endeavour to extend the power and domination of their country, over
the whole of the human race: in this kind there is certainly a
greater dignity, though; at the same time, no less a share of
cupidity. But should any one strive to restore and extend the power
and domination of mankind over the universality of things,
unquestionably such an ambition, (if it can be so denominated) would
be more reasonable and dignified than the others. Now, the empire of
man, over things, has its foundation exclusively in the arts and
sciences; for it is only by an obedience to her laws, that Nature can
be commanded."[3]

LONDON, June 10, 1803.

[Footnote 1: Of two things, we are left to believe one. BONAPARTE
either was or was not invited to put himself at the head of the
government of France. It is not probable that the Directory should
send for him from Egypt, in order to say to him: "we are fools and
drivelers, unfit to conduct the affairs of the nation; so turn us out
of office, and seat yourself in our place." Nevertheless, they might
have hoped to preserve their tottering authority through his support.
Be this as it may, there it something so singular in the good fortune
which has attended BONAPARTE from the period of his quitting
Alexandria, that, were it not known for truth, it might well be taken
for fiction. Sailing from the road of Aboukir on the 24th of August,
1799, he eludes the vigilance of the English cruisers, and lands at
Frejus in France on the 14th of October following, the forty-seventh
day after his departure from Egypt. On his arrival in Paris, so far
from giving an account of his conduct to the Directory, he turns his
back on them; accepts the proposition made to him, from another
quarter, to effect a change in the government; on the 9th of
November, carries it into execution; and, profiting by the _popularis
aura_, fixes himself at the head of the State, at the same time
kicking down the ladder by which he climbed to power. To achieve all
this with such promptitude and energy, most assuredly required a mind
of no common texture; nor can any one deny that ambition would have
done but little towards its accomplishment, had it not been seconded
by extraordinary firmness.]

[Footnote 2: _"Praecipuum munus annalium reor, ne virtutes sileantur,
utque praxis dictis factisque ex posteritate et infamia metus sit."_]

[Footnote 3: "_Praeterca non abs refuerit, tria hominum ambitionis
genera et quasi gradus distinguere. Primum eorum qui propriam
potentiam in patria sua amplificare cupiunt; quod genus vulgare est
et degener. Secundum eorum, qui patriae potentiam et imperium inter
humanum genus amplificare nituntur; illud plus certe habet
dignitatis, cupiditatis haud minus. Quod si quis humani generis
ipsius potentiam et imperium in rerum univertitatem instaurare et
amplificare conetur ea procul dubio ambitio (si modo ita cocanda sit)
reliquls et sanior est et augustior. Hominis autem imperium in res,
in solis artibus et scientiis ponitur: naturae enim non imperatur,
nisi parendo_." Nov. org. scientiarum. Aphor. CXXIX. (Vol. VIII. page
72, new edition of BACON'S works. London, printed 1803.)]



A SKETCH OF PARIS, &c. &c.

LETTER I.

_Calais, October 16, 1801._

MY DEAR FRIEND,

Had you not made it a particular request that I would give you the
earliest account of my debarkation in France, I should, probably, not
have been tempted to write to you till I reached Paris. I well know
the great stress which you lay on first impressions; but what little
I have now to communicate will poorly gratify your expectation.

From the date of this letter, you will perceive that, since we parted
yesterday, I have not been dilatory in my motions. No sooner had a
messenger from the Alien-Office brought me the promised passport, or
rather his Majesty's licence, permitting me to embark for France,
than I proceeded on my journey.

In nine hours I reached Dover, and, being authorized by a proper
introduction, immediately applied to Mr. Mantell, the agent for
prisoners of war, cartels, &c. for a passage across the water. An
English flag of truce was then in the harbour, waiting only for
government dispatches; and I found that, if I could get my baggage
visited in time, I might avail myself of the opportunity of crossing
the sea in this vessel. On having recourse to the collector of the
customs, I succeeded in my wish: the dispatches arriving shortly
after, mid my baggage being already shipped, I stepped off the quay
into the Nancy, on board of which I was the only passenger. A
propitious breeze sprang up at the moment, and, in less than three
hours, wafted me to Calais pier.

By the person who carried the dispatches to Citizen Mengaud, the
commissary for this department (_Pas de Calais_), I sent a card with
my name and rank, requesting permission to land and deliver to him a
letter from M. Otto. This step was indispensable: the vessel which
brought me was, I find, the first British flag of truce that has been
suffered to enter the harbour, with the exception of the Prince of
Wales packet, now waiting here for the return of a king's messenger
from Paris; and her captain even has not yet been permitted to go on
shore. It therefore appears that I shall be the first Englishman, not
in an official character, who has set foot on French ground since the
ratification of the preliminary treaty.

The pier was presently crowded with people gazing at our vessel, as
if she presented a spectacle perfectly novel: but, except the
tri-coloured cockade in the hats of the military, I could not observe
the smallest difference in their general appearance. Instead of crops
and round wigs, which I expected to see in universal vogue, here were
full as many powdered heads and long queues as before the revolution.
Frenchmen, in general, will, I am persuaded, ever be Frenchmen in
their dress, which, in my opinion, can never be _revolutionized_,
either by precept or example. The _citoyens_, as far as I am yet able
to judge, most certainly have not fattened by warfare more than JOHN
BULL: their visages are as sallow and as thin as formerly, though
their persons are not quite so meagre as they are pourtrayed by
Hogarth.

The prospect of peace, however, seemed to have produced an
exhilarating effect on all ranks; satisfaction appeared on every
countenance. According to custom, a host of inkeepers' domestics
boarded the vessel, each vaunting the superiority of his master's
accommodations. My old landlord Ducrocq presenting himself to
congratulate me on my arrival, soon freed me from their
importunities, and I, of course, decided in favour of the _Lion
d'Argent_.

Part of the _Boulogne_ flotilla was lying in the harbour.
Independently of the decks of the gunboats being full of soldiers,
with very few sailors intermixed, playing at different games of
chance, not a plank, not a log, or piece of timber, was there on the
quay but was also covered with similar parties. This then accounts
for that rage for gambling, which has carried to such desperate
lengths those among them whom the fate of war has lodged in our
prisons.

My attention was soon diverted from this scene, by a polite answer
from the commissary, inviting me to his house. I instantly
disembarked to wait on him; my letter containing nothing more than an
introduction, accompanied by a request that I might be furnished with
a passport to enable me to proceed to Paris without delay, Citizen
Mengaud dispatched a proper person to attend me to the town-hall,
where the passports are made out, and signed by the mayor; though
they are not delivered till they have also received the commissary's
signature. However, to lose no time, while one of the clerks was
drawing my picture, or, in other words, taking down a minute
description of my person, I sent my keys to the custom-house, in
order that my baggage might be examined.

By what conveyance I was to proceed to Paris was the next point to be
settled; and this has brought me to the _Lion d'Argent_.

Among other vehicles, Ducrocq has, in his _remise_, an
apparently-good _cabriolet de voyage_, belonging to one of his Paris
correspondents; but, on account of the wretched state of the roads,
he begs me to allow him time to send for his coachmaker, to examine
it scrupulously, that I may not be detained by the way, from any
accident happening to the carriage.

I was just on the point of concluding my letter, when a French naval
officer, who was on the pier when I landed, introduced himself to me,
to know whether I would do him the favour to accommodate him with a
place in the cabriolet under examination. I liked my new friend's
appearance and manner too well not to accede to his proposal.

The carriage is reported to be in good condition. I shall therefore
send my servant on before as a courier, instead of taking him with me
as an inside passenger. As we shall travel night and day, and the
post-horses will be in readiness at every stage, we may, I am told,
expect to reach Paris in about forty-two hours. Adieu; my next will
be from the _great_ city.



LETTER II.

_Paris, October 19, 1801._

Here I am safe arrived; that is, without any broken bones; though my
arms, knees, and head are finely pummelled by the jolting of the
carriage. Well might Ducrocq say that the roads were bad! In several
places, they are not passable without danger--Indeed, the government
is so fully aware of this, that an inspector has been dispatched to
direct immediate repairs to be made against the arrival of the
English ambassador; and, in some _communes_, the people are at work
by torch-light. With this exception, my journey was exceedingly
pleasant. At ten o'clock the first night, we reached _Montreuil_,
where we supped; the next day we breakfasted at _Abbeville_, dined at
_Amiens_, and supped that evening at _Clermont_.

The road between _Calais_ and _Paris_ is too well known to interest
by description. Most of the abbeys and monasteries, which present
themselves to the eye of the traveller, have either been converted
into hospitals or manufactories. Few there are, I believe, who will
deny that this change is for the better. A receptacle for the relief
of suffering indigence conveys a consolatory idea to the mind of the
friend of human nature; while the lover of industry cannot but
approve of an establishment which, while it enriches a State, affords
employ to the needy and diligent. This, unquestionably, is no bad
appropriation of these buildings, which, when inhabited by monks,
were, for the most part, no more than an asylum of sloth, hypocrisy,
pride, and ignorance.

The weather was fine, which contributed not a little to display the
country to greater advantage; but the improvements recently made in
agriculture are too striking to escape the notice of the most
inattentive observer. The open plains and rising grounds of
_ci-devant Picardy_ which, from ten to fifteen years ago, I have
frequently seen, in this season, mostly lying fallow, and presenting
the aspect of one wide, neglected waste, are now all well cultivated,
and chiefly laid down in corn; and the corn, in general, seems to
have been sown with more than common attention.

My fellow-traveller, who was a _lieutenant de vaisseau_, belonging to
_Latouche Treville's_ flotilla, proved a very agreeable companion,
and extremely well-informed. This officer positively denied the
circumstance of any of their gun-boats being moored with chains
during our last attack. While he did ample justice to the bravery of
our people, he censured the manner in which it had been exerted. The
divisions of boats arriving separately, he said, could not afford to
each other necessary support, and were thus exposed to certain
discomfiture. I made the best defence I possibly could; but truth
bears down all before it.

The loss on the side of the French, my fellow-traveller declared, was
no more than seven men killed and forty-five wounded. Such of the
latter as were in a condition to undergo the fatigue of the ceremony,
were carried in triumphal procession through the streets of
_Boulogne_, where, after being harangued by the mayor, they were
rewarded with civic crowns from the hands of their fair
fellow-citizens.

Early the second morning after our departure from _Calais_, we
reached the town of _St. Denis_, which, at one time since the
revolution, changed its name for that of _Franciade_. I never pass
through this place without calling to mind the persecution which poor
Abelard suffered from Adam, the abbot, for having dared to say, that
the body of _St. Denis_, first bishop of Paris, in 240, which had
been preserved in this abbey among the relics, was not that of the
areopagite, who died in 95. The ridiculous stories, imposed on the
credulity of the zealous catholics, respecting this wonderful saint,
have been exhibited in their proper light by Voltaire, as you may see
by consulting the _Questions sur l'Encyclopedie_, at the article
_Denis_.

It is in every person's recollection that, in consequence of the
National Convention having decreed the abolition of royalty in
France, it was proposed to annihilate every vestige of it throughout
the country. But, probably, you are not aware of the thorough sweep
that was made among the sepultures in this abbey of _St. Denis_.

The bodies of the kings, queens, princes, princesses, and celebrated
personages, who had been interred here for nearly fifteen hundred
years, were taken up, and literally reduced to ashes. Not a wreck was
left behind to make a relic.

The remains of TURENNE alone were respected. All the other bodies,
together with the entrails or hearts, enclosed in separate urns, were
thrown into large pits, lined with a coat of quick lime: they were
then covered with the same substance; and the pits were afterwards
filled up with earth. Most of them, as may be supposed, were in a
state of complete putrescency; of some, the bones only remained,
though a few were in good preservation.

The bodies of the consort of Charles I. Henrietta Maria of France,
daughter of Henry IV, who died in 1669, aged 60, and of their
daughter Henrietta Stuart, first wife of Monsieur, only brother to
Lewis XIV, who died in 1670, aged 26, both interred in the vault of
the Bourbons, were consumed in the general destruction.

The execution of this decree was begun at _St. Denis_ on Saturday the
12th of October 1793, and completed on the 25th of the same month, in
presence of the municipality and several other persons.

On the 12th of November following, all the treasure of _St. Denis_,
(shrines, relics, &c.) was removed: the whole was put into large
wooden chests, together with all the rich ornaments of the church,
consisting of chalices, pyxes, cups, copes, &c. The same day these
valuable articles were sent off, in great state, in waggons,
decorated for the purpose, to the National Convention.

We left _St. Denis_ after a hasty breakfast; and, on reaching Paris,
I determined to drive to the residence of a man whom I had never
seen; but from whom I had little doubt of a welcome reception. I
accordingly alighted in the _Rue neuve St. Roch_, where I found
B----a, who perfectly answered the character given me of him by
M. S----i.

You already know that, through the interest of my friend, Captain
O----y, I was so fortunate as to procure the exchange of B----a's
only son, a deserving youth, who had been taken prisoner at sea, and
languished two years in confinement in Portchester-Castle.

Before I could introduce myself, one of young B----a's sisters
proclaimed my name, as if by inspiration; and I was instantly greeted
with the cordial embraces of the whole family. This scene made me at
once forget the fatigues of my journey; and, though I had not been in
bed for three successive nights, the agreeable sensations excited in
my mind, by the unaffected expression of gratitude, banished every
inclination to sleep. If honest B----a and his family felt themselves
obliged to me, I felt myself doubly and trebly obliged to Captain
O----y; for, to his kind exertion, was I indebted for the secret
enjoyment arising from the performance of a disinterested action.

S----i was no sooner informed of my arrival, than he hastened to obey
the invitation to meet me at dinner, and, by his presence, enlivened
the family party. After spending a most agreeable day, I retired to a
temporary lodging, which B----a had procured me in the neighbourhood.
I shall remain in it no longer than till I can suit myself with
apartments in a private house, where I can be more retired, or at
least subject to less noise, than in a public hotel.

Of the fifty-eight hours which I employed in performing my journey
hither from London, forty-four were spent on my way between Calais
and Paris; a distance that I have often travelled with ease in
thirty-six, when the roads were in tolerable repair. Considerable
delay too is at present occasioned by the erection of _barrieres_, or
turnpike-bars, which did not exist before the revolution. At this
day, they are established throughout all the departments, and are an
insuperable impediment to expedition; for, at night, the
toll-gatherers are fast asleep, and the bars being secured, you are
obliged to wait patiently till these good citizens choose to rise
from their pillow.

To counterbalance this inconvenience, you are not now plagued, as
formerly, by custom-house officers on the frontiers of _every_
department. My baggage being once searched at _Calais_, experienced
no other visit; but, at the upper town of _Boulogne_, a sight of my
travelling passport was required; by mistake in the dark, I gave the
_commis_ a scrawl, put into my hands by Ducrocq, containing an
account of the best inns on the road. Would you believe that this
inadvertency detained us a considerable time, so extremely
inquisitive are they, at the present moment, respecting all papers?
At _Calais_, the custom-house officers even examined every piece of
paper used in the packing of my baggage. This scrutiny is not
particularly adopted towards Englishmen; but must, I understand, be
undergone by travellers of every country, on entering the territory
of the Republic.

_P. S._ Lord Cornwallis is expected with impatience; and, at _St.
Denis_, an escort of dragoons of the 19th demi-brigade is in waiting
to attend him into Paris.



LETTER III.

_Paris, October 21, 1801._

On approaching this capital, my curiosity was excited in the highest
degree; and, as the carriage passed rapidly along from the
_Barriere_, through the _Porte St. Denis_, to the _Rue neuve St.
Roch_, my eyes wandered in all directions, anxiously seeking every
shade of distinction between _monarchical_ and _republican_ Paris.

The first thing that attracted my attention, on entering the
_faubourg_, was the vast number of inscriptions placed, during the
revolution, on many of the principal houses; but more especially on
public buildings of every description. They are painted in large,
conspicuous letters; and the following is the most general style in
which they have been originally worded:

  "REPUBLIQUE FRANCAISE, UNE ET INDIVISIBLE."
  "LIBERTE, EGALITE, FRATERNITE, OU LA MORT."

Since the exit of the French Nero, the last three words "_ou la
mort_" have been obliterated, but in few places are so completely
effaced as not to be still legible. In front of all the public
offices and national establishments, the tri-coloured flag is
triumphantly displayed; and almost every person you meet wears in his
hat the national cockade.

The tumult which, ten or twelve years ago, rendered the streets of
Paris so noisy, so dirty, and at the same time so dangerous, is now
most sensibly diminished. Boileau's picture of them is no longer
just. No longer are seen those scenes of confusion occasioned by the
frequent stoppages of coaches and carts, and the contentions of the
vociferating drivers. You may now pass the longest and most crowded
thoroughfares, either on foot or otherwise, without obstacle or
inconvenience. The contrast is striking.

Indeed, from what I have observed, I should presume that there is
not, at the present day, one tenth part of the number of carriages
which were in use here in 1780-90. Except on the domestics of foreign
ambassadors and foreigners, I have as yet noticed nothing like a
livery; and, in lieu of armorial bearings, every carriage, without
distinction, has a number painted on the pannel. However, if private
equipages are scarce, thence ensues more than one advantage; the
public are indemnified by an increased number of good hackney
coaches, chariots, and cabriolets; and, besides, as I have just
hinted, pedestrians are not only far less exposed to being
bespattered, but also to having their limbs fractured.

Formerly, a _seigneur de la cour_ conceived himself justified in
suffering his coachman to drive at a mischievous rate; and in narrow,
crowded streets, where there is no foot-pavement, it was extremely
difficult for persons walking to escape the wheels of a great number
of carriages rattling along in this shameful manner. But he who
guided the chariot of a _ministre d'etat_, considered it as a
necessary and distinctive mark of his master's pre-eminence to
_bruler le pave_. This is so strictly true, that, before the
revolution, I have here witnessed repeated accidents of the most
serious nature, resulting from the exercise of this sort of
ministerial privilege: on one occasion particularly, I myself
narrowly escaped unhurt, when a decent, elderly woman was thrown
down, close by my feet, and had both her thighs broken through the
unfeeling wantonness of the coachman of the Baron de Breteuil, at
that time minister for the department of Paris.

Owing to the salutary regulations of the police, the recurrence of
these accidents is now, in a great measure, prevented; and, as the
empirics say in their hand-bills: "_Prevention is better than cure._"

But for these differences, a person who had not seen Paris for some
years, might, unless he were to direct his visits to particular
quarters, cross it from one extremity to the other, without remarking
any change to inform his mind, that here had been a revolution, or
rather that, for the last ten years, this city had been almost one
continual scene of revolutions.

Bossnet, once preaching before Lewis XIV, exclaimed: "Kings die, and
so do kingdoms!" Could that great preacher rise from his grave into
the pulpit, and behold France without a king, and that kingdom, not
crumbled away, but enlarged, almost with the rapid accumulation of a
snow-ball, into an enormous mass of territory, under the title of
French Republic, what would he not have to say in a sermon? _Rien de
nouveau sous le ciel_, though an old proverb, would not now suit as a
maxim. This, in fact, seems the age of wonders. The league of
monarchs has ended by producing republics; while a republic has
raised a dukedom into a monarchy, and, by its vast preponderance,
completely overturned the balance of power.

Not knowing when I may have an opportunity of sending this letter, I
shall defer to close it for the present, as I may possibly lengthen
it. But you must not expect much order in my narrations. I throw my
thoughts on paper just as they happen to present themselves, without
any studied arrangement.

_October 21, in continuation_.

When we have been for some time in the habit of corresponding with
strangers, we are apt to draw such inferences from their language and
style, as furnish us with the means of sketching an ideal portrait of
their person. This was the case with myself.

Through the concurrence of the two governments, I had, as you know,
participated, in common with others, in the indulgence of being
permitted to correspond, occasionally, on subjects of literature with
several of the _savans_ and literati of France. Indeed, the principal
motive of my journey to Paris was to improve that sort of
acquaintance, by personal intercourse, so as to render it more
interesting to both parties. In my imagination, I had drawn a
full-length picture of most of my literary correspondents. I was now
anxious to see the originals, and compare the resemblance.

Yesterday, having first paid my respects to Mr. M----y, the successor
to Captain C----s, as commissary for the maintenance and exchange of
British prisoners of war, and at present _Charge d'affaires_ from our
court to the French Republic, I called on M. F----u, formerly
minister of the naval department, and at present counsellor of state,
and member of the National Institute, as well as of the board of
longitude. I then visited M. O----r, and afterwards M.
L------re, also members of the Institute, and both well known to our
proficients in natural history, by the works which each has published
in the different branches of that interesting science.

In one only of my ideal portraits had I been very wide of the
likeness. However, without pretending to be a Lavater, I may affirm
that I should not have risked falling into a mistake like that
committed, on a somewhat similar occasion, by Voltaire.

This colossus of French literature, having been for a long time in
correspondence with the great Frederic, became particularly anxious
to see that monarch. On his arrival in a village where the
head-quarters of the Prussian army were then established, Voltaire
inquired for the king's lodging: thither he paced with redoubled
speed; and, being directed to the upper part of the house, he hastily
crossed a large garret; he then found himself in a second, and was
just on the point of entering the third, when, on turning round, he
perceived in one of the comers of the room, a soldier, not overclean
in appearance, lying on a sorry bedstead. He went up and said to him
with eagerness: "Where's the king?"--"I am Frederic," replied the
soldier; and, sure enough, it was the monarch himself.

I am now settled in my new apartments, which are situated in the most
centrical part of Paris. When you visit this capital, I would by all
means, recommend to you, should you intend to remain here a few
weeks, to get into private lodgings.

I know of no article here so much augmented in price, within the last
ten years, as the apartments in all the hotels. After looking at
several of them in the _Rue de la Loi_, accompanied by a French
friend, who was so obliging as to take on himself all the trouble of
inquiry, while I remained a silent bystander, I had the curiosity to
go to the _Hotel d'Angleterre_, in the _Rue des Filles St. Thomas_,
hot far from the _ci-devant Palais Royal_. The same apartments on the
first floor of this hotel which I occupied in 1789, happened to be
vacant. At that time I paid for them twelve louis d'or a month; the
furniture was then new; it is now much the worse for nearly eleven
years' wear; and the present landlord asked twenty-five louis a
month, and even refused twenty-two, if taken for three months
certain. The fact is, that all the landlords of ready-furnished
hotels in Paris seem to be buoyed up with an idea that, on the peace,
the English and foreigners of other nations will flock hither in such
numbers as to enable them to reap a certain and plentiful harvest.
Not but all lodgings are considerably increased in price, which is
ascribed to the increase of taxes.

To find private lodgings, you have only to cast your eye on the daily
advertiser of Paris, called _Les Petites Affiches_. There I read a
description of my present quarters, which are newly fitted up in
every particular, and, I assure you, with no small degree of tasteful
fancy. My landlady, who is a milliner, and, for aught I know, a very
fashionable one, left not the smallest convenience to my conjecture,
but explained the particular use of every hole and corner in the most
significant manner, not even excepting the _boudoir_.

This would be a most excellent situation for any one whose principal
object was to practise speaking French; for, on the right hand of the
_porte-cochere_ or gateway, (which, by the bye, is here reckoned an
indispensable appendage to a proper lodging), is the _magazin des
modes_, where my landlady presides over twenty damsels, many of whom,
though assiduously occupied in making caps and bonnets, would, I am
persuaded, find repartee for the most witty gallant.



LETTER IV.

_Paris, October 23, 1801._

Since my arrival, I have been so much engaged in paying and receiving
visits, that I really have not yet been able to take even a hasty
view of any of the grand sights introduced here since the revolution,

On Wednesday I dined with M. S----i, whose new 8vo edition of Buffon
proceeds, I find, with becoming spirit. It is quite a journey to his
residence; for he lives in one of the most retired quarters of Paris,
However, I had no reason to repine at the distance, as the party was
exceedingly cheerful. Naturalists and literati were not wanting.

Egypt was a subject that engrossed much of the conversation: it was
mentioned as a matter of regret that, during the dominion of the
French in that country, curiosity had not prompted the Institute,
established at Cairo, to open one of the pyramids, with a view of
ascertaining the object of the erection of those vast masses. At the
desert, we had luscious grapes as large as damsons, in bunches of
from three to five pounds in weight. They were of the species of the
famous _chasselas de Fontainebleau_, which are said to have sprung
from a stock of vine-plants, imported by Francis I. from the island
of Cyprus. These did not come from that town, but grew against the
naked wall in S----i's garden. From this you may form a judgment of
the climate of Paris.

The persons with whom I have had any correspondence, respecting
literature, vie with each other in shewing me every mark of cordial
hospitality; and those to whom I have been introduced, are by no
means backward in friendly attention. All the lovers of science here
seem to rejoice that the communication, which has been so long
interrupted between the two countries, promises to be shortly
re-opened.

After dining yesterday with Mr. M----y, the British minister, in
company with Mr. D----n, the member for Ilchester, we all three went
to an exhibition almost facing Mr. M----y's residence  in the _Rue
St. Dominique_. This was the third time of its being open to the
public. As it is of a novel kind, some account of it may not be
uninteresting. In French, it is denominated

  THERMOLAMPES,
  _or stoves which afford heat and light on an economical plan_.

The author of this invention, for which a patent has been obtained,
is M. LEBON, an engineer of bridges and highways. The place of
exhibition was the ground floor of one of the large hotels in the
_Faubourg St. Germain_, on which was a suite of rooms, extremely
favourable for displaying the effect of this new method of lighting
and warming apartments.

In lieu of fire or candle, on the chimney stood a large crystal
globe, in which appeared a bright and clear flame diffusing a very
agreeable heat; and on different pieces of furniture were placed
candlesticks with metal candles, from the top of each of which issued
a steady light, like that of a lamp burning with spirits of wine.
These different receptacles were supplied with inflammable gas by
means of tubes communicating with an apparatus underneath. By this
contrivance, in short, all the apartments were warmed very
comfortably, and illuminated in a brilliant manner.

On consulting M. LEBON, he communicated to me the following
observations: "You may have remarked," said he, "in sitting before a
fire, that wood sometimes burns without flame, but with much smoke,
and then you experience little heat, sometimes with flame, but with
little smoke, and then you find much warmth. You may have remarked
too, that ill-made charcoal emits smoke; it is, on that account,
susceptible of flaming again; and the characteristic difference
between wood and charcoal is, that the latter has lost, together with
its smoke, the principle and aliment of flame, without which you
obtain but little heat. Experience next informs us, that this portion
of smoke, the aliment of flame, is not an oily vapour condensable by
cooling, but a gas, a permanent air, which may be washed, purified,
conducted, distributed, and afterwards turned into flame at any
distance from the hearth.

"It is almost needless," continued he, "to point out the formation of
verdigrise, white lead, and a quantity of other operations, in which
acetous acid is employed. I shall only remark that it is this
pyroligneous acid which penetrates smoked meat and fish, that it has
an effect on leather which it hardens, and that _thermolampes_ are
likely to render tanning-mills unnecessary, by furnishing the tan
without further trouble. But to return to the aeriform principle.

"This aliment of flame is deprived of those humid vapours, so
perceptible and so disagreeable to the organs of sight and smell.
Purified to a perfect transparency, it floats in the state of cold
air, and suffers itself to be directed by the smallest and most
fragil pipes. Chimnies of an inch square, made in the thickness of
the plaster of ceilings or walls, tubes even of gummed silk would
answer this purpose. The end alone of the tube, which, by bringing
the inflammable gas into contact with the atmospheric air, allows it
to catch fire, and on which the flame reposes, ought to be of metal.

"By a distribution so easy to be established, a single stove may
supply the place of all the chimnies of a house. Every where
inflammable air is ready to diffuse immediately heat and light of the
most glowing or most mild nature, simultaneously or separately,
according to your wishes. In the twinkling of an eye, you may conduct
the flame from one room to another; an advantage equally convenient
and economical, and which can never be obtained with our common
stoves and chimnies. No sparks, no charcoal, no soot, to trouble you;
no ashes, no wood, to soil your apartments. By night, as well as by
day, you can have a fire in your room, without a servant being
obliged to look after it. Nothing in the _thermolampes_, not even the
smallest portion of inflammable air, can escape combustion; while in
our chimnies, torrents evaporate, and even carry off with them the
greater part of the heat produced.

"The advantage of being able to purify and proportion, in some
measure, the principles of the gas which feeds the flame is," said M.
LEBON, "set forth in the clearest manner. But this flame is so
subjected to our caprice, that even to tranquilize the imagination,
it suffers itself to be confined in a crystal globe, which is never
tarnished, and thus presents a filter pervious to light and heat. A
part of the tube that conducts the inflammable air, carries off, out
of doors, the produce of this combustion, which, nevertheless,
according to the experiments of modern chymists, can scarcely be any
thing more than an aqueous vapour.

"Who cannot but be fond of having recourse to a flame so subservient?
It will dress your victuals, which, as well as your cooks, will not
be exposed to the vapour of charcoal; it will warm again those dishes
on your table; dry your linen; heat your oven, and the water for your
baths or your washing, with every economical advantage that can be
wished. No moist or black vapours; no ashes, no breaze, to make a
dirt, or oppose the communication of heat; no useless loss of
caloric; you may, by shutting an opening, which is no longer
necessary for placing the wood in your oven, compress and coerce the
torrents of heat that were escaping from it.

"It may easily be conceived, that an inflammable principle so docile
and so active may be made to yield the most magnificent
illuminations. Streams of fire finely drawn out, the duration,
colour, and form of which may be varied at pleasure, the motion of
suns and turning-columns, must produce an effect no less agreeable
than brilliant." Indeed, this effect was exhibited on the garden
facade of M. LEBON'S residence.

"Wood," concluded he, "yields in condensable vapours two thirds of
its weight; those vapours may therefore be employed to produce the
effects of our steam-engines, and it is needless to borrow this
succour from foreign water."

_P. S._. On the 1st of last Vendemiaire, (23rd of September), the
government presented to the Chief Consul a sword, whose hilt was
adorned with fourteen diamonds, the largest of which, called the
_Regent_, from its having been purchased by the Duke of Orleans, when
Regent, weighs 184 carats. This is the celebrated _Pitt_ diamond, of
which we have heard so much: but its weight is exceeded by that of
the diamond purchased by the late empress of Russia, which weighs 194
carats; not to speak of the more famous diamond, in possession of the
Great Mogul, which is said to weigh 280 carats.



LETTER V.

_Paris, October 24, 1801._

Last night I received yours of the 20th ult. and as Mr. M----y
purposes to send off a dispatch this morning, and will do me the
favour to forward this, with my former letters, I hasten to write you
a few lines.

I scarcely need assure you, my dear friend, that I will, with
pleasure, communicate to you my remarks on this great city and its
inhabitants, and describe to you, as far as I am able, the principal
curiosities which it contains, particularizing, as you desire, those
recently placed here by the chance of war; and giving you a succinct,
historical account of the most remarkable national establishments and
public buildings. But to pass in review the present state of the
_arts, sciences, literature, manners, &c. &c._ in this capital, and
contrast it with that which existed before the revolution, is a task
indeed; and far more, I fear, than it will be in my power to
accomplish.

However, if you will be content to gather my observations as they
occur; to listen to my reflections, while the impression of the
different scenes which produced them, is still warm in my mind; in
short, to take a faithful sketch, in lieu of a finished picture, I
will do the best I can for your satisfaction.

Relying on your indulgence, you shall know the life I lead: I will,
as it were, take you by the arm, and, wherever I go, you shall be my
companion. Perhaps, by pursuing this plan, you will not, at the
expiration of three or four months, think your time unprofitably
spent. Aided by the experience acquired by having occasionally
resided here, for several months together, before the revolution, it
will be my endeavour to make you as well acquainted with Paris, as I
shall then hope to be myself. For this purpose, I will lay under
contribution every authority, both written and oral, worthy of being
consulted.



LETTER VI

_Paris, October 26, 1801._

From particular passages in your letter, I clearly perceive your
anxiety to be introduced among those valuable antiques which now
adorn the banks of the Seine. On that account, I determined to
postpone all other matters, and pay my first visit to the CENTRAL
MUSEUM OF THE ARTS, established in the

LOUVRE.

But, before, we enter the interior of this building, it may not be
amiss to give you some account of its construction, and describe to
you its exterior beauties.

The origin of this palace, as well as the etymology of its name, is
lost in the darkness of time. It is certain, however, that it
existed, under the appellation of _Louvre_, in the reign of Philip
Augustus, who surrounded it with ditches and towers, and made it a
fortress. The great tower of the _Louvre_, celebrated in history, was
insulated, and built in the middle of the court. All the great
feudatories of the crown derived their tenure from this tower, and
came hither to swear allegiance and pay homage. "It was," says St.
Foix, "a prison previously prepared for them, if they violated their
oaths."[1] Three Counts of Flanders were confined in it at different
periods.

The _Louvre_, far from being cheerful from its construction, received
also from this enormous tower a melancholy and terrifying aspect
which rendered it unworthy of being a royal residence. Charles V.
endeavoured to enliven and embellish this gloomy abode, and made it
tolerably commodious for those times. Several foreign monarchs
successively lodged in it; such as Manuel, emperor of Constantinople;
Sigismund, emperor of Germany; and the emperor Charles the Fifth.

This large tower of the _Louvre_, which had, at different periods,
served as a palace to the kings of France, as a prison to the great
lords, and as a treasury to the state, was at length taken down in
1528.

The _Tower of the Library_ was famous, among several others, because
it contained that of Charles V. the most considerable one of the
time, and in which the number of volumes amounted to nine hundred.

OLD LOUVRE

The part of this palace which, at the present day, is called the _Old
Louvre_, was begun under Francis I. from the plan of PIERRE LESCOT,
abbot of Clugny; and the sculpture was executed by JEAN GOUGEON,
whose minute correctness is particularly remarkable in the festoons
of the frieze of the second order, and in the devices emblematic of
the amours of Henry II. This edifice, though finished, was not
inhabited during the reign of that king, but it was by his son
Charles IX.

Under him, the _Louvre_ became the bloody theatre of treacheries and
massacres which time will never efface from the memory of mankind,
and which, till the merciless reign of Robespierre, were unexampled
in the history of this country. I mean the horrors of St.
Bartholemew's day.

While the alarmed citizens were swimming across the river to escape
from death, Charles IX. from a window of this palace, was firing at
them with his arquebuse. During that period of the revolution, when
all means were employed to excite and strengthen the enmity of the
people against their kings, this act of atrocity was called to their
mind by an inscription placed under the very window, which looks on
the _Quai du Louvre_.

Indeed, this instance of Charles's barbarity is fully corroborated by
historians. "When it was day-light," says Brantome, "the king peeped
out of his chamber-window, and seeing some people in the _Faubourg
St. Germain_ moving about and running away, he took a large arquebuse
which he had ready at hand, and, calling out incessantly: _Kill,
kill!_ fired a great many shots at them, but in vain; for the piece
did not carry so far."--This prince, according to Masson, piqued
himself on his dexterity in cutting off at a single blow the head of
the asses and pigs which he met with on his way. Lansac, one of his
favourites, having found him one day with his sword drawn and ready
to strike his mule, asked him seriously: "What quarrel has then
happened between His Most Christian Majesty and my mule?" Murad Bey
far surpassed this blood-thirsty monarch in address and strength. The
former, we are told by travellers in Egypt, has been known, when
riding past an ox, to cut off its head with one stroke of his
scimitar.

The capital was dyed with the blood of Charles's murdered subjects.
Into this very _Louvre_, into the chamber of Marguerite de Valois,
the king's sister, and even to her bed, in which she was then lying,
did the fanatics pursue the officers belonging to the court itself,
as is circumstantially related by that princess in her Memoirs.

Let us draw the curtain on these scenes of horror, and pass rapidly
from this period of fanaticism and cruelty, when the _Louvre_ was
stained by so many crimes to times more happy, when this palace
became the quiet cradle of the arts and sciences, the school for
talents, the _arena_ for genius, and the asylum of artists and
literati.

The centre pavilion over the principal gate of the _Old Louvre_, was
erected under the reign of Lewis XIII. from the designs of LE
MERCIER, as well as the angle of the left part of the building,
parallel to that built by Henry II. The eight gigantic cariatides
which are there seen, were sculptured by SARRASIN.

The facade towards the _Jardin de l'Infante_, (as it is called), that
towards the _Place du Louvre_, and that over the little gate, towards
the river, which were constructed under the reigns of Charles IX. and
Henry III. in the midst of the civil wars of the League, partake of
the taste of the time, in regard to the multiplicity of the
ornaments; but the interior announces, by the majesty of its
decorations, the refined taste of Lewis XIV.

NEW LOUVRE.

The part of the _Louvre_, which, with the two sides of the old
building, forms the perfect square, three hundred and seventy-eight
feet[2] in extent, called the _New Louvre_, consists in two double
facades, which are still unfinished. LE VEAU, and after him D'ORBAY,
were the architects under whose direction this augmentation was made
by order of Lewis XIV.

That king at first resolved to continue the _Louvre_ on the plan
begun by Francis I.: for some time he caused it to be pursued, but
having conceived a more grand and magnificent design, he ordered the
foundation of the superb edifice now standing, to be laid on the 17th
of October 1665, under the administration of COLBERT.

Through a natural prejudice, Lewis XIV. thought that he could find no
where but in Italy an artist sufficiently skilful to execute his
projects of magnificence. He sent for the Cavaliere BERNINI from
Rome. This artist, whose reputation was established, was received in
France with all the pomp due to princes of the blood. The king
ordered that, in the towns through which he might pass, he should be
complimented and receive presents from the corporations, &c.

BERNINI was loaded with wealth and honours: notwithstanding the
prepossession of the court in favour of this Italian architect,
notwithstanding his talents, he did not succeed in his enterprise.
After having forwarded the foundation of this edifice, he made a
pretext of the impossibility of spending the winter in a climate
colder than that of Italy. "He was promised," says St. Foix, "three
thousand louis a year if he would stay; but," he said, "he would
positively go and die in his _own_ country." On the eve of his
departure, the king sent him three thousand louis, with the grant of
a pension of five hundred. He received the whole with great coolness.

Several celebrated architects now entered the lists to complete this
grand undertaking.--MANSARD presented his plans, with which COLBERT
was extremely pleased: the king also approved of them, and absolutely
insisted on their being executed without any alteration. MANSARD
replied that he would rather renounce the glory of building this
edifice than the liberty of correcting himself, and changing his
design when he thought he could improve it. Among the competitors was
CLAUDE PERRAULT, that physician so defamed by Boileau, the poet. His
plans were preferred, and merited the preference. Many pleasantries
were circulated at the expense of the new medical architect; and
PERRAULT replied to those sarcasms by producing the beautiful
colonnade of the _Louvre_, the master-piece of French architecture,
and the admiration of all Europe.

The facade of this colonnade, which is of the Corinthian order; is
five hundred and twenty-five feet in length: it is divided into two
peristyles and three avant-corps. The principal gate is in the centre
avant-corps, which is decorated with eight double columns, crowned by
a pediment, whose raking cornices are composed of two stones only,
each fifty-four feet in length by eight in breadth, though no more
than eighteen inches in thickness. They were taken from the quarries
of Meudon, and formed but one single block, which was sawed into two.
The other two avant-corps are ornamented by six pilasters, and two
columns of the same order, and disposed in the same manner. On the
top, in lieu of a ridged roof, is a terrace, bordered by a stone
balustrade, the pedestals of which are intended to bear trophies
intermixed with vases.

PERRAULT'S enemies disputed with him the invention of this
master-piece. They maintained that it belonged to LE VEAU, the
architect; but, since the discovery of the original manuscript and
drawings of PERRAULT, there no longer remains a doubt respecting
the real author of this beautiful production.

In front of this magnificent colonnade, a multitude of salesmen erect
their stalls, and there display quantities of old clothes, rags, &c.
This contrast, as Mercier justly remarks, still speaks to the eye of
the attentive observer. It is the image of all the rest, grandeur and
beggary, side by side.

However, it is not on the _outside_ of these walls only, that beggary
has been so nearly allied to grandeur. At least we have a solitary
instance of this truth of a very sinking nature.

Cardinal de Retz tells us, that going one morning to the _Louvre_ to
see the Queen of England, he found her in the chamber of her
daughter, aftenwards Dutchess of Orleans, and that she said to him:
"You see, I come to keep Henriette company: the poor girl could not
leave her bed to-day, for want of fuel."--It is true, he adds, that,
for six months past Cardinal Mazarin had not paid her pension; the
tradesmen, would no longer give her credit, and she had not a piece
of wood to warm her.

Like St. Paul's in London, the facade of the _Louvre_ cannot be seen
to the best advantage, on account of the proximity of the surrounding
buildings; and, like many other great undertakings too, will,
probably, never be completed, but remain a monument of the fickleness
of the nation.

Lewis XIV, after having for a long time made the _Louvre_ his
residence; abandoned it for _Versailles_: "Sire," said Dufreny once
to that prince, "I never look at the _New Louvre_, without
exclaiming, superb monument of the magnificence of our greatest
kings, you would have been finished, had you been given to one of the
begging orders of friars!" From that period, the _Louvre_ was wholly
consecrated to the sittings of different academies, and to the
accommodation of several men of science and artists, to whom free
apartments were allotted.

I much regret having, for this year at least, lost a sight here,
which I should have viewed with no inconsiderable degree of
attention. This is the

PUBLIC EXHIBITION OF THE PRODUCTIONS OF FRENCH INDUSTRY.

Under the directorial government, this exhibition was opened in the
_Champ de Mars_; but it now takes place, annually, in the square of
the _Louvre_, during the five complementary days of the republican
calendar; namely, from the 18th to the 22d of September, both
inclusive.

The exhibition not only includes manufactures of every sort, but also
every new discovery, invention, and improvement. For the purpose of
displaying these objects to advantage, temporary buildings are
erected along the four interior walls of this square, each of which
are subdivided into twenty-five porticoes; so that the whole square
of the _Louvre_, during that period, represents a fair with a hundred
booths. The resemblance, I am told, is rendered still more perfect by
the prodigious crowd; persons of all ranks being indiscriminately
admitted to view these productions. Precautions, however, are taken
to prevent the indiscreet part of the public from rushing into the
porticoes, and sentinels are posted at certain intervals to preserve
order.

This, undoubtedly, is a very laudable institution, and extremely well
calculated to excite emulation in the national manufactures,
specimens of which being sent from all the principal manufacturing
towns, the hundred porticoes may be said to comprise an epitome of
the present state of all the flourishing manufactures of France.
Indeed, none but new inventions and articles of finished workmanship,
the fabrication of which is known, are suffered to make part of the
exhibition. Even these are not admitted till after a previous
examination, and on the certificate of a private jury of five
members, appointed for that purpose by the prefect of each
department. A new jury, composed of fifteen members, nominated by the
Minister of the Interior, again examine the different articles
admitted; and agreeably to their decision, the government award
premiums and medals to those persons who have made the greatest
improvement in any particular fabric or branch of industry, or
produced any new discovery or invention. The successful candidates
are presented to the Chief Consul by the Minister of the Interior,
and have the honour of dining with him at his public monthly dinner.

From all that I can learn concerning this interesting exhibition, it
appears, that, though the useful arts, in general, cannot at present
be put in competition here with those of a similar description among
us, the object of the French government is to keep up a spirit of
rivalship, and encourage, by every possible means, the improvement of
those manufactures in which England is acknowledged to surpass other
countries.

I am reminded that it is time to prepare for going out to dinner. I
must therefore not leave this letter, like the _Louvre_, unfinished.
Fortunately, my good friend, the prevailing fashion here is to dine
very late, which leaves me a long morning; but for this, I know not
when I should have an opportunity of writing long letters. Restrain
then your impatience, and I promise that you shall very shortly be
ushered into the GALLERY OF ANTIQUES,

  "Where the smooth chisel all its force has shewn,
  And soften'd into flesh the rugged stone."

[Footnote 1: _Essais historiques sur Paris_.]

[Footnote 2: It may be necessary to observe that, throughout these
letters, we always speak of French feet. The English foot is to the
French as 12 to 12.789, or as 4 to 4.263.]



LETTER VII.

_Paris, October 28, 1801._

Having, in my last letter, described to you the outside of the
_Louvre_, (with the exception of the Great Gallery, of which I shall
speak more at length in another place), I shall now proceed to give
you an account of some of the principal national establishments
contained within its walls.

Before the revolution, the _Louvre_ was, as I have said, the seat of
different academies, such as the _French Academy_, the _Academy of
Sciences_, the _Academy of Inscriptions and Belles Lettres_, the
_Academy of Painting and Sculpture_, and the _Academy of
Architecture_. All these are replaced by the _National Institute of
Arts and Sciences_, of which, however, I shall postpone further
mention till I conduct you to one of its public sittings.

At the period to which I revert, there existed in the _Louvre_ a
hall, called the _Salle des Antiques_, where, besides, some original
statues by French artists, were assembled models in plaster of the
most celebrated master-pieces of sculpture in Italy, together with a
small number of antiques. In another apartment, forming part of those
assigned to the Academy of Painting, and called the _Galerie
d'Apollon_, were seen several pictures, chiefly of the French school;
and it was intended that the Great Gallery should be formed into a
Museum, containing a collection of the finest pictures and statues at
the disposal of the crown.

This plan, which had partly been carried into execution under the old
_regime_, is now completed, but in a manner infinitely more
magnificent than could possibly have been effected without the
advantages of conquest. The _Great Gallery_ and _Saloon_ of the
_Louvre_ are solely appropriated to the exhibition of pictures of the
old masters of the Italian, Flemish, and French schools; and the
_Gallery of Apollo_ to that of their drawings; while a suite of lofty
apartments has been purposely fitted up in this palace for the
reception of original antiques, in lieu of those copies of them
before-mentioned. In other rooms, adjoining to the Great Gallery, are
exhibited, as formerly, that is during one month every year, the
productions of living painters, sculptors, architects, and
draughtsmen.

These different exhibitions are placed under the superintendance of a
board of management, or an administration, (as the French term it),
composed of a number of antiquaries, artists, and men of science,
inferior to none in Europe in skill, judgment, taste, or erudition.
The whole of this grand establishment bears the general title of

CENTRAL MUSEUM OF THE ARTS.

The treasures of painting and sculpture which the French nation have
acquired by the success of their arms, or by express conditions in
treaties of alliance or neutrality, are so immense as to enable them,
not only to render this CENTRAL MUSEUM the grandest collection of
master-pieces in the world, but also to establish fifteen
departmental Museums in fifteen of the principal towns of France.
This measure, evidently intended to favour the progress of the fine
arts, will case Paris of a great number of the pictures, statues, &c.
amassed here from different parts of France, Germany, Belgium,
Holland, Italy, Piedmont, Savoy, and the States of. Venice.

If you cast your eye on the annexed _Plan of Paris_, and suppose
yourself near the exterior south-west angle of the _Louvre_, or, as
it is more emphatically styled, the NATIONAL PALACE OF ARTS AND
SCIENCES, you will be in the right-hand corner of the _Place du Vieux
Louvre_, in which quarter is the present entrance to the CENTRAL
MUSEUM OF THE ARTS. Here, after passing through a court, you enter a
vestibule, on the left of which is the Hall of the Administration of
the Museum. On the ground-floor, facing the door of this vestibule,
is the entrance to the

GALLERY OF ANTIQUES.

In this gallery, which was, for the first time, opened to the public
on the 18th of Brumaire, year ix. of the French republic, (9th of
November 1800), are now distributed no less than one hundred and
forty-six statues, busts, and bas-reliefs. It consists of several
handsome apartments, bearing appropriate denominations, according to
the principal subjects which each contains. Six only are at present
completely arranged for public inspection: but many others are in a
state of preparation.

The greater part of the statues here exhibited, are the fruit of the
conquests of the army of Italy. Conformably to the treaty of
Tolentino, they were selected at Rome, from the Capitol and the
Vatican, by BARTHELEMY, BERTHOLET, MOITTE, MONGE, THOUIN, and TINET,
who were appointed, by the French government, commissioners for the
research of objects appertaining to the Arts and Sciences.

In the vestibule, for the moderate price of fifteen _sous_, is sold a
catalogue, which is not merely a barren index, but a perspicuous and
satisfactory explanation of the different objects that strike the eye
of the admiring spectator as he traverses the GALLERY OF ANTIQUES. It
is by no means my intention to transcribe this catalogue, or to
mention every statue; but, assisted by the valuable observations with
which I was favoured by the learned antiquary, VISCONTI, long
distinguished for his profound knowledge of the fine arts, I shall
describe the most remarkable only, and such as would fix the
attention of the connoisseur.

On entering the gallery, you might, perhaps, be tempted to stop in
the first hall; but we will visit them all in regular succession, and
proceed to that which is now the furthest on the left hand. The
ceiling of this apartment, painted by ROMANELLI, represents the four
seasons; whence it is called the

HALL OF THE SEASONS.

In consequence, among other antiques, here are placed the statues of
the rustic divinities, and those relating to the Seasons. Of the
whole, I shall distinguish the following:

  N deg. 210. DIANA.

Diana, habited as a huntress, in a short tunic without sleeves, is
holding her bow in one hand; while, with the other, she is drawing an
arrow from her quiver, which is suspended at her shoulder. Her legs
are bare, and her feet are adorned with rich sandals. The goddess,
with a look expressive of indignation, appears to be defending the
fabulous hind from the pursuit of Hercules, who, in obedience to the
oracle of Apollo, was pursuing it, in order to carry it alive to
Eurystheus; a task imposed on him by the latter as one of his twelve
labours.

To say that, in the opinion of the first-rate connoisseurs, this
statue might serve as a companion to the _Apollo of Belvedere_, is
sufficient to convey an idea of its perfection; and, in fact, it is
reckoned the finest representation of Diana in existence. It is of
Parian marble, and, according to historians, has been in France ever
since the reign of Henry IV. It was the most perfect of the antiques
which adorned the Gallery of Versailles. The parts wanting have been
recently restored with such skill as to claim particular admiration.

  214. ROME.

In this bust, the city of Rome is personified as an Amazon. The
helmet of the female warrior is adorned with a representation of the
she-wolf, suckling the children of Mars.

This antique, of Parian marble, is of a perfect Greek style, and in
admirable preservation. It formerly belonged to the Gallery of
Richelieu-Castle.

  51. ADOLESCENS SPINAM AVELLENS.

This bronze figure represents a young man seated, who seems employed
in extracting a thorn from his left foot.

It is a production of the flourishing period of the art, but,
according to appearance, anterior to the reign of Alexander the
Great. It partakes a little of the meagre style of the old Greek
school; but, at the same time, is finished with astonishing truth,
and exhibits a graceful simplicity of expression. In what place it
was originally discovered is not known. It was taken from the
Capitol, where it was seen in the _Palazzo dei Conservatori_.

  50. A FAUN, _in a resting posture_.

This young faun, with no other covering than a deer's skin thrown
over his shoulders, is standing with his legs crossed, and leaning on
the trunk of a tree, as if resting himself.

The grace and finished execution that reign throughout this figure,
as well as the immense number of copies still existing of it, and all
antiques, occasion it to be considered as the copy of the Faun in
bronze, (or Satyr as it is termed by the Greeks), of Praxiteles. That
statue was so celebrated, that the epithet of [Greek: perizoaetos], or
the famous, became its distinctive appellation throughout Greece.

This Faun is of Pentelic marble: it was found in 1701, near _Civita
Lavinia_, and placed in the Capitol by Benedict XIV.

  59. ARIADNE, _known by the name of_ CLEOPATRA.

In this beautiful figure, Ariadne is represented asleep on a rock in
the Isle of Naxos, abandoned by the faithless Theseus, and at the
moment when Bacchus became enamoured of her, as described by several
ancient poets.

It is astonishing how the expression of sleep could be mistaken for
that of death, and cause this figure to be called _Cleopatra_. The
serpent on the upper part of the left arm is evidently a bracelet, of
that figure which the Greek women called [Greek: opidion], or the
little serpent.

For three successive centuries, this statue of Parian marble
constituted one of the principal ornaments of the Belvedere of the
Vatican, where it was placed by Julius II.

  190. AUGUSTUS.

This head of Augustus, adorned with the civic crown of oak leaves, is
one of the fine portraits of that emperor. It is executed in Parian
marble, and comes from Verona, where it was admired in the
_Bevilacqua_ cabinet.

       *       *       *       *       *

On quitting the HALL OF THE SEASONS, we return to that through which
we first passed to reach it. This apartment, from being ornamented
with the statues of ZENO, TRAJAN, DEMOSTHENES, and PHOCION, is
denominated the

HALL OF ILLUSTRIOUS MEN.

It is decorated with eight antique granite pillars brought from
_Aix-la-Chapelle_, where they stood in the nave of the church, which
contained the tomb of Charlemagne.

Among the antiques placed in it, I shall particularize

  N deg. 75. MENANDER.

This figure represents the poet, honoured by the Greeks with the
title of _Prince of the New Comedy_, sitting on a hemi-cycle, or
semicircular seat, and resting after his literary labours. He is clad
in the Grecian tunic and _pallium_.

  76. POSIDIPPUS.

The dress of Posidippus, who was reckoned among the Greeks one of the
best authors of what was called the _New Comedy_, is nearly that of
Menander, the poet. Like him, he is represented sitting on a
hemi-cycle.

These two statues, which are companions, are admirable for the noble
simplicity of their execution. They are both of Pentelic marble, and
were found in the XVIth century at Rome, in the gardens of the
convent of _San Lorenzo_, on Mount Viminal. After making part of the
baths of Olympius, they were placed by Sixtus V. at _Negroni_, whence
they were removed to the Vatican by Pius VI.

       *       *       *       *       *

Continuing our examination, after leaving the HALL OF ILLUSTRIOUS
MEN, we next come to the

HALL OF THE ROMANS.

The ceiling of this hall is ornamented with subjects taken from the
Roman history, painted by ROMANELLI; and in it are chiefly assembled
such works of sculpture as have a relation to that people.

Among several busts and statues, representing ADRIAN, PUBLIUS
CORNELIUS SCIPIO, MARCUS JUNIUS BRUTUS, LUCIUS JUNIUS BRUTUS, CICERO,
&c. I shall point out to your notice,

  209. _The_ TORSO _of_ BELVEDERE.

This admirable remnant of a figure seated, though the head, arms, and
legs are wanting, represents the apotheosis of Hercules. The lion's
skin spread on the rock, and the enormous size of the limbs, leave no
doubt as to the subject of the statue. Notwithstanding the muscles
are strongly marked, the veins in the body of the hero are
suppressed, whence antiquaries have inferred, that the intention of
the author was to indicate the very moment of his deification.
According to this idea, our countryman FLAXMAN has immortalized
himself by restoring a copy of the _Torso_, and placing Hebe on the
left of Hercules, in the act of presenting to him the cup of
immortality.

On the rock, where the figure is seated, is the following Greek
inscription:

  [Greek: APOLLONIOS]
  [Greek: NESTOROS]
  [Greek: ATAENAIOS]
  [Greek: EPOIEI.]

By which we are informed, that it is the production of APOLLONIUS,
_the Athenian, the son of Nestor_, who, probably, flourished in the
time of Pompey the Great.

This valuable antique is of Pentelic marble, and sculptured in a most
masterly style. It was found at Rome, near Pompey's theatre, now
_Campo di Fiore_. Julius II. placed it in the garden of the Vatican,
where it was long the object of the studies of MICHAEL ANGELO,
RAPHAEL, &c. those illustrious geniuses, to whom we are indebted for
the improvement of the fine arts. Among artists, it has always been
distinguished by the appellation of the _Torso of Belvedere_.

  94. _A wounded warrior, commonly called the_ GLADIATOR MORIENS.

This figure, represents a barbarian soldier, dying on the field of
battle, without surrendering. It is remarkable for truth of
imitation, of a choice nature, though not sublime, (because the
subject would not admit of it,) and for nobleness of expression,
which is evident without affectation.

This statue formerly belonged to the _Villa-Ludovisi_, whence it was
removed to the Museum of the Capitol by Clement XII. It is from the
chisel of AGASIAS, a sculptor of Ephesus, who lived 450 years before
the Christian era.

  82. CERES.

This charming figure is rather that of a Muse than of the goddess of
agriculture. It is admirable for the _ideal_ beauty of the drapery.
She is clad in a tunic; over this is thrown a mantle, the execution
of which is so perfect, that, through it, are perceived the knots of
the strings which fasten the tunic below the bosom.

It formerly belonged to the _Villa-Mattei_, on Mount Esquiline; but
was taken from the Museum of the Vatican, where it had been placed by
Clement XIV.

  80. _A Roman orator, called_ GERMANICUS.

Hitherto this admirable figure of a Roman orator, with the attributes
of Mercury, the god of eloquence, has passed for that of Germanicus,
though it is manifestly too old for him. Here we have another model
of beautiful elegance of form, though not of an _ideal_ sublimity.

On the shell of a tortoise, at tide foot of the statue, is inscribed
in beautiful Greek characters:

  [Greek: KLEOMENAES]
  [Greek: KLEOMENOYS]
  [Greek: ATAENIOSE]
  [Greek: POIAESEN.]

Whence we learn that it is the production of CLEOMENES, an Athenian
artist, mentioned by Pliny, and who flourished towards the end of the
Roman republic, about 500 years before Christ. This statue was taken
from the Gallery of Versailles, where it had been placed in the reign
of Lewis XIV. It formerly belonged to the garden of Sixtus V. at
_Villa-Montalto_, in Rome.

  97. ANTINOUeS, _called the_ ANTINOUeS OF THE CAPITOL.

In this monument, Adrian's favourite is represented as having
scarcely attained the age of puberty. He is naked, and his attitude
has some affinity to that of Mercury. However, his countenance seems
to be impressed with that cast of melancholy, by which all his
portraits are distinguished: Hence has been applied to him that verse
of Virgil on Marcellus;

  _"Sed frons laeta parum, et dejecto lumina vultu"_

This beautiful figure, of Carrara marble, is sculptured in a masterly
manner. It comes from the Museum of the Capitol, and previously
belonged to the collection of Cardinal Alessandro Albani. The
fore-arm and left leg are modern.

  200. ANTINOUeS.

In this colossal bust of the Bithynian youth, are some peculiarities
which call to mind the images of the Egyptian god _Harpocrates_. It
is finely executed in hard Greek marble, and comes from the Museum of
the Vatican. As recently as the year 1790, it was dug from the ruins
of the _Villa-Fede_ at Tivoli.

But enough for to-day--to-morrow I will resume my pen, and we will
complete our survey of the GALLERY OF ANTIQUES.



LETTER VIII.

_Paris, October 29, 1801._

If the culture of the arts, by promoting industry and increasing
commerce, improves civilization, and refines manners, what modern
people can boast of such advantages as are now enjoyed by the French
nation? While the sciences keep pace with the arts, good taste bids
fair to spread, in time, from the capital throughout the country, and
to become universal among them. In antiquity, Athens attests the
truth of this proposition, by rising, through the same means, above
all the cities of Greece; and, in modern times, have we not seen in
Florence, become opulent, the darkness of ignorance vanish, like a
fog, before the bright rays of knowledge, diffused by the flourishing
progress of the arts and sciences?

When I closed my letter yesterday, we had just terminated our
examination of the HALL OF THE ROMANS. On the same line with it, the
next apartment we reach, taking its name from the celebrated group
here placed, is styled the

HALL OF THE LAOCOON.

Here are to be admired four pillars of _verde antico_, a species of
green marble, obtained by the ancients, from the environs of
Thessalonica. They were taken from the church of _Montmorency_, where
they decorated the tomb of Anne, the constable of that name. The
first three apartments are floored with inlaid oak; but this is paved
with beautiful marble.

Of the _chefs d'oeuvre_ exhibited in this hall, every person of taste
cannot but feel particular gratification in examining the
undermentioned;

  N deg. 108. LAOCOON.

The pathetic story which forms the subject of this admirable group is
known to every classic reader. It is considered as one of the most
perfect works that ever came from the chisel; being at once a
master-piece of composition, design, and feeling. Any sort of
commentary could but weaken the impression which it makes on the
beholder.

It was found in 1506, under the pontificate of Julius II, at Rome, on
Mount Esquiline, in the ruins of the palace of Titus. The three
Rhodian artists, AGESANDER, POLYDORUS, and ATHENOPORUS, mentioned by
Pliny, as the sculptors of this _chef d'oeuvre_ flourished during the
time of the Emperors, in the first century of the Christian era.

The group is composed of five blocks, but joined in so skilful a
manner, that Pliny thought them of one single piece. The right arm of
the father and two arms of the children are wanting.

  111. AMAZON.

This uncommonly beautiful figure of Parian marble represents a woman,
whose feminine features and form seem to have contracted the
impression of the masculine habits of warfare. Clad in a very fine
tunic, which, leaving the left breast exposed, is tucked up on the
hips, she is in the act of bending a large bow. No attitude could be
better calculated for exhibiting to advantage the finely-modelled
person of this heroine.

For two centuries, this statue was at the _Villa-Mattei_, on Mount
Coelius at Rome, whence it was removed to the Museum of the Vatican
by Clement XIV.

  118. MELEAGER.

The son of OEneus, king of Calydon, with nothing but a _chlamis_
fastened on his shoulders, and winding round his left arm, is here
represented resting himself, after having killed the formidable wild
boar, which was ravaging his dominions; at his side is the head of
the animal, and near him sits his faithful dog.

The beauty of this group is sublime, and yet it is of a different
cast, from either that of the _Apollo of Belvedere_, or that of the
_Mercury_, called Antinoues, of which we shall presently have occasion
to speak.

This group is of Greek marble of a cinereous colour: there are two
different traditions respecting the place where it was found; but the
preference is given to that of Aldroandi, who affirms that it was
discovered in a vineyard bordering on the Tiber. It belonged to
Fusconi, physician to Paul III, and was for a long time in the
_Pighini_ palace at Rome, whence Clement XIV had it conveyed to the
Vatican.

  103 and 104. _Two busts, called_ TRAGEDY and COMEDY.

These colossal heads of Bacchantes adorned the entrance of the
theatre of the _Villa-Adriana_ at Tivoli. Though the execution of
them is highly finished, it is no detriment to the grandeur of the
style.

The one is of Pentelic marble; and the other, of Parian. Having been
purchased of Count Fede by Pius VI, they were placed in the Museum of
the Vatican.

  105. ANTINOUeS.

This bust is particularly deserving of attention, on account of its
beauty, its excellent preservation, and perfect resemblance to the
medals which remain of Adrian's favourite.

It is of Parian marble of the finest quality, and had been in France
long before the revolution.

  112. ARIADNE, _called_ (in the catalogue) BACCHUS.

Some sculptors have determined to call this beautiful head that of
BACCHUS; while the celebrated VISCONTI, and other distinguished
antiquaries, persist in preserving to it its ancient name of ARIADNE,
by which it was known in the Museum of the Capitol.

Whichever it may be, it is of Pentelic marble, and unquestionably one
of the most sublime productions of the chisel, in point of _ideal_
beauty.

       *       *       *       *       *

From the HALL OF THE LAOCOON, we pass into the apartment, which, from
the famous statue, here erected, and embellished in the most splendid
manner, takes the appellation of the

HALL OF THE APOLLO.

This hall is ornamented with four pillars of red oriental granite of
the finest quality: those which decorate the niche of the Apollo were
taken from the church that contained the tomb of Charlemagne at
_Aix-la-Chapelle_. The floor is paved with different species of
scarce and valuable marble, in large compartments, and, in its
centre, is placed a large octagonal table of the same substance.

In proportion to the dimensions of this apartment, which is
considerably larger than any of the others, a greater number of
antiques are here placed, of which the following are the most
pre-eminent.

  N deg. 145. APOLLO PYTHIUS, _commonly called the_ APOLLO OF BELVEDERE.

The name alone of this _chef d'oeuvre_ might be said to contain its
eulogium. But as you may, probably, expect from me some remarks on
it, I shall candidly acknowledge that I can do no better than
communicate to you the able and interesting description given of it
by the Administration of the Museum, of which the following is a fair
abridgment.

"Apollo has just discharged the mortal arrow which has struck the
serpent Python, while ravaging Delphi. In his left hand is held his
formidable bow; his right has but an instant quitted it: all his
members still preserve the impression given them by this action.
Indignation is seated on his lips; but in his looks is the assurance
of success. His hair, slightly curled, floats in long ringlets round
his neck, or is gracefully turned up on the crown of his head, which
is encircled by the _strophium_, or fillet, characteristic of kings
and gods. His quiver is suspended by a belt to the right shoulder:
his feet are adorned with rich sandals. His _chlamis_ fastened on the
shoulder, and tucked up only on the left arm, is thrown back, as if
to display the majesty of his divine form to greater advantage.

"An eternal youth is spread over all his beautiful figure, a sublime
mixture of nobleness and agility, of vigour and elegance, and which
holds a happy medium between the delicate form of Bacchus, and the
more manly one of Mercury."

This inimitable master-piece is of Carrara marble, and, consequently,
was executed by some Greek artist who lived in the time of the
Romans; but the name of its author is entirely unknown. The fore-arm
and the left hand, which were wanting, were restored by GIOVANNI
ANGELO DE MONTORSOLI, a sculptor, who was a pupil of Michael Angelo.

Towards the end of the fifteenth century, it was discovered at _Capo
d'Anzo_, twelve leagues from Rome, on the sea-shore, near the ruins
of the ancient _Antium_. Julius II, when cardinal, purchased this
statue, and placed it in his palace; but shortly after, having
arrived at the pontificate, he had it conveyed to the Belvedere of
the Vatican, where, for three centuries, it was the admiration of the
world.

On the 16th of Brumaire, year IX, (7th of November, 1801) BONAPARTE,
as First Consul, celebrated, in great pomp, the inauguration of the
Apollo; on which occasion he placed between the plinth of the statue,
and its pedestal, a brass tablet bearing a suitable inscription.

The Apollo stands facing the entrance-door of the apartment, in an
elevated recess, decorated, as I have before observed, with beautiful
granite pillars. The flight of steps, leading to this recess, is
paved with the rarest marble, inlaid with squares of curious antique
mosaic, and on them are placed two Egyptian sphynxes of red oriental
granite, taken from the Museum of the Vatican.

  142. VENUS OF THE CAPITOL.

This figure of Parian marble represents the goddess of beauty issuing
from the bath. Her charms are not concealed by any veil or garment.
She is slightly turning her head to the left, as if to smile on the
Graces, who are supposed to be preparing to attire her.

In point of execution, this is allowed to be the most beautiful of
all the statues of Venus which we have remaining. The _Venus of
Medicis_ surpasses it in sublimity of form, approaching nearer to
_ideal_ beauty.

Bupalus, a sculptor of the Isle of Scio, is said to have produced
this master-piece. He lived 600 years before Christ, so that it has
now been in existence upwards of two thousand four hundred years. It
was found about the middle of the eighteenth century, near
_San-Vitale_, at Rome. Benedict XIV having purchased it of the
_Stati_ family, placed it in the Capitol.

  125. MERCURY, _commonly called the_ ANTINOUeS OF BELVEDERE.

This statue, also of the finest Parian marble, is one of the most
beautiful that can be imagined. More robust in form than either that
of the _Apollo_ or of the _Meleager_, it loses nothing by being
contemplated after the former. In short, the harmony which reigns
between its parts is such, that the celebrated POUSSIN, in preference
to every other, always took from it the _proportions of the human
figure_.

It was found at Rome, on Mount Esquiline, under the pontificate of
Paul III, who placed it in the Belvedere of the Vatican, near the
Apollo and the Laocoon.

  151. _The Egyptian_ ANTINOUeS.

In this statue, Antinoues is represented as a divinity of Egypt. He is
standing in the usual attitude of the Egyptian gods, and is naked,
with the exception of his head and wrist, which are covered with a
species of drapery in imitation of the sacred garments.

This beautiful figure is wrought with superior excellence. It is of
white marble, which leads to a conjecture that it might have been
intended to represent Orus, the god of light, it having been the
custom of the Egyptians to represent all their other divinities in
coloured marble. It was discovered in 1738, at Tivoli, in the
_Villa-Adriana_, and taken from the Museum of the Capitol.

To judge from the great number of figures of Antinoues, sculptured by
order of Adrian to perpetuate the memory of that favourite, the
emperor's gratitude for him must have been unbounded. Under the form
of different divinities, or at different periods of life, there are
at present in the GALLERY OF ANTIQUES no less than five portraits of
him, besides three statues and two busts. Three other statues of
Antinoues, together with a bust, and an excellent bass-relief, in
which he is represented, yet remain to be placed.

  156. BACCHUS.

The god of wine is here represented standing, and entirely naked. He
is leaning carelessly with his left arm on the trunk of an elm, round
which winds a grape-vine.

This statue, of the marble called at Rome _Greco duro_, is reckoned
one of the finest extant of the mirth-inspiring deity.

       *       *       *       *       *

Having surveyed every object deserving of notice in the HALL OF THE
APOLLO, we proceed, on the right hand, towards its extremity, and
reach the last apartment of the gallery, which, from being
consecrated to the tuneful Nine, is called the

HALL OF THE MUSES.

It is paved with curious marble, and independently of the Muses, and
their leader, Apollo, here are also assembled the antique portraits
of poets and philosophers who have rendered themselves famous by
cultivating them. Among these we may perceive HOMER and VIRGIL; but
the most remarkable specimen of the art is

  N deg. 177. EURIPIDES.

In this hermes we have a capital representation of the features of
the rival of Sophocles. The countenance is at once noble, serious,
and expressive. It bears the stamp of the genius of that celebrated
tragic poet, which was naturally sublime and profound, though
inclined to the pathetic.

This hermes is executed in Pentelic marble, and was taken from the
academy of _Mantua_.

Since the revival of the arts, the lovers of antiquity have made
repeated attempts to form a collection of antique statues of the
Muses; but none was ever so complete as that assembled in the Museum
of the Vatican by Pius VI, and which the chance of war has now
transferred to the banks of the Seine. Here the bard may offer up to
them a solemn invocation, and compose his lay, as it were, under
their very eyes.

The statues of CLIO, THALIA, TERPSICHORE, ERATO, POLYHYMNIA, and
CALLIOPE, together with the APOLLO MUSAGETES, were discovered in
1774, at _Tivoli_, among the ruins of the villa of Cassius. To
complete the number, Pius VI obtained the EUTERPE and the URANIA from
the _Lancellotti_ palace at _Veletri_. They are supposed to be
antique copies of the statues of the Nine Muses by Philiscus, which,
according to Pliny, graced the portico of Octavia.

       *       *       *       *       *

The air of grandeur that reigns in the general arrangement of the
gallery is very striking: and the tasteful and judicious distribution
of this matchless assemblage of antiques does great honour to the
Council of the CENTRAL MUSEUM. Among the riches which Rome possessed,
the French commissioners also, by their choice selection, have
manifested the depth of their knowledge, and the justness of their
discrimination.

The alterations and embellishments made in the different apartments
of the GALLERY OF ANTIQUES have been executed under the immediate
direction of their author, M. RAYMOND, member of the National
Institute, and architect to the NATIONAL PALACE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES.
In winter, the apartments are kept warm by means of flues, which
diffuse a genial vapour. Here, without the expense of a single
_liard_, the young draughtsman may form his taste by studying the
true antique models of Grecian sculpture; the more experienced artist
may consult them as he finds occasion in the composition of his
subjects; while the connoisseur, the amateur, or the simple observer
may spend many an agreeable hour in contemplating these master-pieces
which, for centuries, have inspired universal admiration.

These are the materials on which Genius ought to work, and without
which the most promising talent may be greatly misapplied, if not
entirely lost. It was by studying closely these correct models, that
the great MICHAEL ANGELO, the, sublime RAPHAEL, and other eminent
masters, acquired that idea of excellence which is the result of the
accumulated experience of successive ages. Here, in one visit, the
student may imbibe those principles to ascertain which many artists
have consumed the best part of their days; and penetrated by their
effect, he is spared the laborious investigation by which they came
to be known and established. It is unnecessary to expatiate on the
advantages which the fine arts may expect to derive from such a
repository of antiques in a capital so centrical as Paris. The
contemplation of them cannot fail to fire the genius of any artist of
taste, and prompt his efforts towards the attainment of that grand
style, which, disdaining the minute accidental particularities of
individual objects, improves partial representation by the general
and invariable ideas of nature.

A vast collection of antiquities of every description is still
expected from Italy, among which are the _Venus of Medicis_ and the
_Pallas of Veletri_, a finely-preserved statue, classed by artists
among those of the first rank, dug up at _Veletri_ in 1799, in
consequence of the researches made there by order of the French
commissioners. Upwards of five hundred cases were lying on the banks
of the Tiber, at Rome, ready to be sent off to France, when the
Neapolitans entered that city. They carried them all away: but by the
last article of the treaty of peace with the king of Naples, the
whole of them are to be restored to the French Republic. For the
purpose of verifying their condition, and taking measures for their
conveyance to Paris, two commissioners have been dispatched to Italy:
one is the son of CHAPTAL, Minister of the Interior, and the other is
DUFOURNY, the architect. On the arrival of these cases, even after
the fifteen departmental Museums have been supplied, it is asserted
that there will yet remain in the French capital, antiquities in
sufficient number to form a museum almost from Paris to Versailles.

The CENTRAL MUSEUM OF THE ARTS is open to the public in general on
the 8th, 9th, and 10th of each decade;[1] the other days are
appropriated to the study of young pupils; but a foreigner has only
to produce his _permis de sejour_ to gain admission _gratis_ every
day from the hour of ten o'clock to four. To the credit of the
nation, I must observe that this exception in favour of foreigners
excites no jealousy whatever.

It is no more than a justice due to the liberality of the French
republican government to add, that they set a noble example which is
worthy of being followed, not only in England, but in every other
country, where the arts and sciences are honoured, or the general
interests of mankind held in estimation. From persons visiting any
national establishment, whether museum, library, cabinet, or garden,
in this capital, no sort of fee or perquisite is now expected, or
allowed to be taken. Although it was not a public day when I paid my
first visit to the CENTRAL MUSEUM, no sooner did I shew my _permis de
sejour_, than the doors were thrown open; and from M. VISCONTI, and
other members of the Council, who happened to be present, I
experienced the most polite and obliging attention. As an Englishman,
I confess that I felt a degree of shame on reflecting to what pitiful
exaction a foreigner would be subject, who might casually visit any
public object of curiosity in our metropolis.

[Footnote 1: By a subsequent regulation, Saturday and Sunday are the
days on which the CENTRAL MUSEUM is open to public inspection.]



LETTER IX.

_Paris, October 31, 1801._

In answer to your question, I shall begin by informing you that I
have not set eyes on the _petit caporal_, as some affect to style the
Chief Consul. He spends much of his time, I am told, at _Malmaison_,
his country-seat; and seldom appears in public, except in his box at
the Opera, or at the French theatre; but at the grand monthly parade,
I shall be certain to behold him, on the 15th of the present month of
Brumaire, according to the republican calendar, which day answers to
the 6th of November. I have therefore to check my impatience for a
week longer.

However, if I have not yet seen BONAPARTE himself, I have at least
seen a person who has seen him, and will take care that I shall have
an opportunity of seeing him too: this person is no less than a
general--who accompanied him in his expedition to Egypt--who was
among the chosen few that returned with him from that country--who
there surveyed the mouths of the Nile--who served under him in the
famous campaign of Syria; and who at this day is one of the first
military engineers in Europe. In a word, it is General A----y, of the
artillery, at present Director of that scientific establishment,
called the DEPOT DE LA GUERRE. He invited me the day before yesterday
to breakfast, with a view of meeting some of his friends whom he had
purposely assembled.

I am not fond of breakfasting from home; _mais il faut vivre a Rome
comme a Rome_. Between ten and eleven o'clock I reached the _Depot_,
which is situated in the _Rue de l'Universite_, _Faubourg St,
Germain_, at the _ci-devant Hotel d'Harcourt_, formerly belonging to
the duke of that name. Passing through the gate-way, I was proceeding
boldly to the principal entrance of the hotel, when a sentinel
stopped me short by charging his bayonet. "Citizen," said he
fiercely, at the same time pointing to the lodge on the right, "you
must speak to the porter." I accordingly obeyed the mandate. "What's
your business, citizen?" inquired the porter gruffly.--"My business,
citizen," replied I, "is only to breakfast with the general."--"Be so
good, citizen," rejoined he in a milder tone, "as to take the trouble
to ascend the grand stair-case, and ring the bell on the
first-floor."

Being introduced into the general's apartments, I there found eight
or ten persons of very intelligent aspect, seated at a round table,
loaded with all sorts of good things, but, in my mind, better
calculated for dinner than breakfast. Among a great variety of
delicacies, were beef-steaks, or, as they are here termed, _bif-ticks
a l'Anglaise_. Oysters too were not forgotten: indeed, they compose
an essential part of a French breakfast; and the ladies seem
particularly partial to them, I suppose, because they are esteemed
strengthening to a delicate constitution.

Nothing could be more pleasant than this party. Most of the guests
were distinguished literati, or military men of no ordinary stamp.
One of the latter, a _chef de brigade_ of engineers, near whom I
considered myself fortunate in being placed, spoke to me in the
highest terms of Mr. SPENCER SMITH, Sir Sidney's brother, to whose
interference at _Constantinople_, he was indebted for his release
from a Turkish prison.

Notwithstanding the continual clatter of knives and forks, and the
occasional gingle of glasses, the conversation, which suffered no
interruption, was to me extremely interesting: I never heard any men
express opinions more liberal on every subject that was started. It
was particularly gratifying to my feelings, as an Englishman, to hear
a set of French gentlemen, some of whom had participated in the sort
of disgrace attached to the raising of the siege of _St. Jean
d'Acre_, generously bestow just encomiums on my brother-officer, to
whose heroism they owed their failure. Addison, I think, says,
somewhere in the Spectator, that national prejudice is a laudable
partiality; but, however laudable it may be to indulge such a
partiality, it ought not to render us blind to the merit of
individuals of a rival nation.

General A----y, being one of those whose talents have been found too
useful to the State to be suffered to remain in inaction, was obliged
to attend at the _Conseil des Mines_ soon after twelve o'clock, when
the party separated. Just as I was taking leave, he did me the favour
to put into my hand a copy of his _Histoire du Canal du Midi_, of
which I shall say more when I have had leisure to peruse it.

I do not know that a man in good health, who takes regular exercise,
is the worse for breakfasting on a beef-steak, in the long-exploded
style of Queen Bess; but I am no advocate for all the accessories of
a French _dejeuner a la fourchette_. The strong Mocha coffee which I
swallowed, could not check the more powerful effect of the Madeira
and _creme de rose_. I therefore determined on taking a long walk,
which, when saddle-horses are not to be procured, I have always found
the best remedy for the kind of restlessness created by such a
breakfast.

I accordingly directed my steps across the _Pont & Place de la
Concorde_, traversed the street of the same name; and, following the
_Boulevard_ for a certain distance, struck off to the left, that is,
towards the north, in order to gain the summit of

MONTMARTRE.

In ancient times, there stood on this hill a temple dedicated to
Mars, whence the name _Mons Martis_, of which has been made
_Montmartre_. At the foot of it, was the _Campus Martius_, or _Champ
de Mars_, where the French kings of the first race caused their
throne to be erected every year on the first of May. They came hither
in a car, decorated with green boughs and flowers, and drawn by four
oxen. Such, indeed, was the town-equipage of king DAGOBERT.

  "Quatre boeufs atteles, d'un pas tranquil et lent,
  Promenaient dans Paris le monarque indolent."

Having seated themselves on the throne, they gave a public audience
to the people, at the same time giving and receiving presents, which
were called _estrennes_. Hence annual presents were afterwards termed
_etrennes_, and this gave rise to the custom of making them.

On this hill too fell the head of [Greek: Dionusios] or _St. Denis_;
and in latter times, this was the spot chosen by the Marshal DE
BROGLIE, who commanded the thirty-five thousand troops by which the
French capital was surrounded in May 1789, for checking the spirit of
the turbulent Parisians, by battering their houses' about their ears,
and burying them under the ruins.

On the summit of _Montmartre_, is a circular terrace, in the centre
of which stands a windmill, and not far from it, are several others.
Round its brow are several _maisonettes_, or little country boxes,
and also some public gardens with bowers, where lovers often regale
their mistresses. Hence you command a full view of the city of Paris.
You behold roof rising above roof; and the churches towering above
the houses have, at this distance, somewhat the appearance of lofty
chimnies. You look down on the capital as far as the Seine, by which
it is intersected: beyond that river, the surface of the land rises
again in the form of an amphitheatre. On all sides, the prospect is
bounded by eminences of various degrees of elevation, over which, as
well as over the plains, and along the banks of the river, are
scattered villas, windmills, country-seats, hamlets, villages, and
coppices; but, from want of enclosures, the circumjacent country has
not that rich and variegated aspect which delights the eye in our
English rural scenery. This was always one of my favourite walks
during my residence in Paris before the revolution; and I doubt not,
when you visit the French capital, that you will have the curiosity
to scale the heights of _Montmartre_.

As to the theatres, concerning which you interrogate me, I shall
defer entering into any particular detail of them, till I have made
myself fully acquainted with the attractions of each: this mode of
proceeding will not occasion any material delay, as I generally visit
one of them every evening, but always endeavour to go to that house
where the _best_ performers are to be seen, in their _best_
characters, and in the _best_ pieces. I mention this, in order that
you may not think me inattentive to your request, by having hitherto
omitted to point out to you the difference between the theatrical
amusements here under the monarchy, and those of the republic.

The _theatre des arts_ or grand French opera, the _opera buffa_ or
Italian comic opera, the _theatre Feydeau_ or French comic opera, and
the _theatre Francais_, chiefly engage my attention. Yesterday
evening I went to the last-mentioned theatre purposely to see
Mademoiselle CONTAT, who played in both pieces. The first was _Les
Femmes Savantes_, a comedy, in which Moliere, wishing to aim a blow
at female pedantry, has, perhaps, checked, in some French women, a
desire for improvement; the second was _La fausse Agnes_, a laughable
afterpiece. Notwithstanding the enormous _embonpoint_ which this
celebrated comic actress has acquired since I saw her last on the
Parisian stage upwards of ten years ago, she acquitted herself with
her accustomed excellence. I happened to sit next to a very warm
admirer of her superior talents, who told me that, bulky as she was
become, he had been highly gratified in seeing her perform at _Rouen_
not long since, in her favourite character of _Roxalane_, in _Les
Trois Sultanes_. "She was much applauded, no doubt." observed I.
--"Not at all," replied he, "for the crowd was so great, that in no
part of the house was it possible for a man to use his hands."



LETTER X.

_Paris, November 2, 1801._

On reaching Paris, every person, whether Jew or Gentile, foreigner or
not, coming from any department of the republic, except that of _La
Seine_, in which the capital is situated, is now bound to make his
appearance at the _Prefecture de Police_.

The new-comer, accompanied by two housekeepers, first repairs to the
Police-office of the _arrondissement_, or district, in which he has
taken up his residence, where he delivers his travelling passport; in
lieu of which he receives a sort of certificate, and then he shews
himself at the _Prefecture de Police_, or General Police-office, at
present established in the _Cite_.

Here, his name and quality, together with a minute description of his
person and his place of abode, are inserted in a register kept for
that purpose, to which he puts his signature; and a printed paper,
commonly called a _permis de sejour_, is given to him, containing a
duplicate of all these matters, filled up in the blanks, which he
also signs himself. It is intended that he should always carry this
paper about him, in order that he may produce it when called on, or,
in case of necessity, for verifying his person, on any particular
occasion, such as passing by a guard-house on foot after eleven
o'clock at night, or being unexpectedly involved in any affray. In a
word, it answers to a stranger the same end as a _carte de surete_,
or ticket of safety, does to an inhabitant of Paris.

I accordingly went through this indispensable ceremony in due form on
my arrival here; but, having neglected to read a _nota bene_ in the
margin of the _permis de sejour_, I had not been ten hours in my new
apartments before I received a visit from an Inspector of Police of
the _arrondissement_, who, very civilly reminding me of the omission,
told me that I need not give myself the trouble of going to the
Central Police-office, as he would report my removal. However, being
determined to be strictly _en regle_, I went thither myself to cause
my new residence to be inserted in the paper.

I should not have dwelt on the circumstance, were it not to shew you
the precision observed in the administration of the police of this
great city.

Under the old _regime_, every master of a ready-furnished hotel was
obliged to keep a register, in which he inserted the name and quality
of his lodgers for the inspection of the police-officers whenever
they came: this regulation is not only strictly adhered to at
present; but every person in Paris, who receives a stranger under his
roof as an inmate, is bound, under penalty of a fine, to report him
to the police, which is most vigilantly administered by Citizen
FOUCHE.

Last night, not being in time to find good places at the _Theatre des
Arts_, or Grand French Opera, I went to the _Theatre Louvois_, which
is within a few paces of it, in hopes of being more successful. I
shall not at present attempt to describe the house, as, from my
arriving late, I was too ill accommodated to be able to view it to
advantage.

However, I was well seated for seeing the performance. It consisted
of three _petites pieces_: namely, _Une heure d'absence_, _La petite
ville_, and _Le cafe d'une petite ville_. The first was entertaining;
but the second much more so; and though the third cannot claim the
merit of being well put together, I shall say a few words of it, as
it is a production _in honour of peace_, and on that score alone,
would, at this juncture, deserve notice.

After a few scenes somewhat languid, interspersed with common-place,
and speeches of no great humour, a _denouement_, by no means
interesting, promised not to compensate the audience for their
patience. But the author of the _Cafe d'une petite ville_, having
eased himself of this burden, revealed his motive, and took them on
their weak side, by making a strong appeal to French enthusiasm. This
cord being adroitly struck, his warmth became communicative, and
animating the actors, good humor did the rest. The accessories were
infinitely more interesting than the main subject. An allemande,
gracefully danced by two damsels and a hero, in the character of a
French hussar, returned home from the fatigues of war and battle, was
much applauded; and a Gascoon poet, who declares that, for once in
his life, he is resolved to speak truth, was loudly encored in the
following couplets, adapted to the well-known air of _"Gai, le coeur
a la danse."_

  "Celui qui nous donne la paix,
  Comme il fit bien la guerre!
  Sur lui deja force conplets....
  Mai il en reste a faire:
  Au diable nous nous donnions,
  Il revient, nous respirons....
  Il fait changer la danse;

  Par lui chez nous plus de discord;
  Il regle la cadence,
  Et nous voila d'accord."

True it is, that BONAPARTE, as principal ballet-master, has changed
the dance of the whole nation; he regulates their step to the measure
of his own music, and _discord_ is mute at the moment: but the
question is, whether the French are bona-fide _d'accord_, (as the
Gascoon affirms,) that is, perfectly reconciled to the new tune and
figure? Let us, however, keep out of this maze; were we to enter it,
we might remain bewildered there, perhaps, till old Father Time came
to extricate us.

The morning is inviting: suppose we take a turn in the _Tuileries_,
not with a view of surveying this garden, but merely to breathe the
fresh air, and examine the

PALAIS DU GOUVERNEMENT.

Since the Chief Consul has made it his town-residence, this is the
new denomination given to the _Palais des Tuileries_, thus called,
because a tile-kiln formerly stood on the site where it is erected.
At that time, this part of Paris was not comprised within its walls,
nothing was to be seen here, in the vicinity of the tile-kiln, but a
few coppices and scattered habitations.

Catherine de Medicis, wishing to enlarge the capital on this side,
visited the spot, and liking the situation, directed PHILIBERT DE
L'ORME and JEAN BULLAN, two celebrated French architects, to present
her with a plan, from which the construction of this palace was begun
in May 1564. At first, it consisted only of the large square pavilion
in the centre of the two piles of building, which have each a terrace
towards the garden, and of the two pavilions by which they are
terminated.

Henry IV enlarged the original building, and, in 1600, began the
grand gallery which joins it to the _Louvre_, from the plan of DU
CERCEAU. Lewis XIII made some alterations in the palace; and in 1664,
exactly a century from the date of its construction being begun,
Lewis XIV directed LOUIS DE VEAU to finish it, by making the
additions and embellishments which have brought it to its present
state. These deviations from the first plan have destroyed the
proportions required by the strict rules of art; but this defect
would, probably, be overlooked by those who are not connoisseurs, as
the architecture, though variously blended, presents, at first sight,
an _ensemble_ which is magnificent and striking.

The whole front of the palace of the _Tuileries_ consists of five
pavilions, connected by four piles of building, standing on the same
line, and extending for the space of one thousand and eleven feet.
The first order of the three middle piles is Ionic, with encircled
columns. The two adjoining pavilions are also ornamented with Ionic
pillars; but fluted, and embellished with foliage, from the third of
their height to the summit. The second order of these two pavilions
is Corinthian. The two piles of building, which come next, as well as
the two pavilions of the wings, are of a Composite order with fluted
pillars. From a tall iron spindle, placed on the pinnacle of each of
the three principal pavilions is now seen floating a horizontal
tri-coloured streamer. Till the improvements made by Lewis XIV, the
large centre pavilion had been decorated with the Ionic and Corinthian
orders only, to these was added the Composite.

On the facade towards the _Place du Carrousel_, the pillars of all
these orders are of brown and red marble. Here may be observed the
marks of several cannon-balls, beneath each of which is inscribed, in
black, 10 AOUT.

This tenth of August 1792, a day ever memorable in the history of
France, has furnished many an able writer with the subject of an
episode; but, I believe, few of them were, any more than myself,
actors in that dreadful scene. While I was intently remarking the
particular impression of a shot which struck the edge of one of the
casements of the first floor of the palace, my _valet de place_ came
up to know at which door I would have the carriage remain in waiting.

On turning round, I fancied I beheld the man who "drew Priam's
curtain in the dead of night." That messenger, I am sure, could not
have presented a visage more pale, more spiritless than my Helvetian.
Recollecting that he had served in the Swiss guards, I was the less
at a loss to account for his extreme agitation. "In what part of the
_chateau_ were you, Jean," said I, "when these balls were aimed at
the windows?"----"There was my post," replied he, recovering himself,
and pointing to one of the centre casements.--"Is it true," continued
I, "that, by way of feigning a reconciliation, you threw down
cartridges by handfuls to the Marseillese below, and called out;
_vive la nation?"_----"It is but too true," answered Jean; "we then
availed ourselves of the moment when they advanced under the
persuasion that they were to become our friends, and opened on them a
tremendous fire, by which we covered the place with dead and dying.
But we became victims of our own treachery: for our ammunition being,
by this _ruse de guerre_, the sooner expended, we presently had no
resource left but the bayonet, by which we could not prevent the mob
from closing on us."--"And how did you contrive to escape," said I?
--"Having thrown away my Swiss uniform," replied he, "in the general
confusion, I fortunately possessed myself of the coat of a national
volunteer, which he had taken off on account of the hot weather. This
garment, bespattered with blood, I instantly put on, as well as his
hat with a tri-coloured cockade."--"This disguise saved your life,"
interrupted I.--"Yes, indeed;" rejoined he. "Having got down to the
vestibule, I could not find a passage into the garden; and, to
prevent suspicion, I at once mixed with the mob on the place where we
are now standing."--"How did you get off at last," said I?--"I was
obliged," answered he, "to shout and swear with the _poissardes_,
while the heads of many of my comrades were thrown out of the
windows."--"The _poissardes_," added I, "set no bounds to their
cruelty?"--"No," replied he, "I expected every moment to feel its
effects; my disguise alone favoured my escape: on the dead bodies of
my countrymen they practised every species of mutilation." Here Jean
drew a picture of a nature too horrid to be committed to paper. My
pen could not trace it.----In a word, nothing could exceed the
ferocity of the infuriate populace; and the sacking of the palace of
the Trojan king presents but a faint image of what passed here on the
day which overset the throne of the Bourbons.

According to a calculation, founded as well on the reports of the
police as on the returns of the military corps, it appears that the
number of men killed in the attack of the palace of the _Tuileries_
on the 10th of August 1792, amounted in the whole to very near six
thousand, of whom eight hundred and fifty-two were on the side of the
besieged, and three thousand seven hundred and forty on the side of
the besiegers.

The interior of this palace is not distinguished by any particular
style of architecture, the kings who have resided here having made
such frequent alterations, that the distribution throughout is very
different from that which was at first intended. Here it was that
Catherine de Medicis shut herself up with the Guises, the Gondis, and
Birague, the chancellor, in order to plan the horrible massacre of
that portion of the French nation whose religious tenets trenched on
papal power, and whose spirit of independence alarmed regal jealousy.

Among the series of entertainments, given on the marriage of the king
of Navarre with Marguerite de Valois, was introduced a ballet, in
which the papists, commanded by Charles IX and his brothers, defended
paradise against the huguenots, who, with Navarre at their head, were
all repulsed and driven into hell. Although this pantomime, solely
invented by Catherine, was evidently meant as a prelude to the
dreadful proscription which awaited the protestants, they had no
suspicion of it; and four days after, was consummated the massacre,
where that monster to whom nature had given the form of a woman,
feasted her eyes on the mangled corpses of thousands of bleeding
victims!

No sooner was the Pope informed of the horrors of St. Bartholemew's
day; by the receipt of Admiral de Coligny's head which Catherine
embalmed and sent to him, than he ordered a solemn procession, by way
of returning thanks to heaven for the _happy event_. The account of
this procession so exasperated a gentlemen of Anjou, a protestant of
the name of Bressaut de la Rouvraye, that he swore he would make
eunuchs of all the monks who should fall into his hands; and he
rendered himself famous by keeping his word, and wearing the trophies
of his victory.

The _Louvre_ and the palace of the _Tuileries_ were alternately the
residence of the kings of France, till Lewis XIV built that of
Versailles, after which it was deserted till the minority of Lewis
XV, who, when a little boy, was visited here by Peter the Great, but,
in 1722, the court quitted Paris altogether for Versailles, where it
continued fixed till the 5th of October 1789.

During this long interval, the palace was left under the direction of
a governor, and inhabited only by himself, and persons of various
ranks dependent on the bounty of the crown. When Lewis XVI and his
family were brought hither at that period, the two wings alone were
in proper order; the remainder consisted of spacious apartments
appointed for the king's reception when he came occasionally to
Paris, and ornamented with stately, old-fashioned furniture, which
had not been deranged for years. The first night of their arrival,
they slept in temporary beds, and on the king being solicited the
next day to choose his apartments, he replied: "Let everyone shift
for himself; for my part, I am very well where I am." But this fit of
ill-humor being over, the king and queen visited every part of the
palace, assigning particular rooms to each person of their suite, and
giving directions for sundry repairs and alterations.

Versailles was unfurnished, and the vast quantity of furniture
collected in that palace, during three successive reigns, was
transported to the _Tuileries_ for their majesties' accommodation.
The king chose for himself three rooms on the ground-floor, on the
side of the gallery to the right as you enter the vestibule from the
garden; on the entresol, he established his geographical study; and
on the first floor, his bed-chamber: the apartments of the queen and
royal family were adjoining to those of the king; and the attendants
were distributed over the palace to the number of between six and
seven hundred persons.

The greater part of the furniture, &c. in the palace of the
_Tuileries_ was sold in the spring of 1793. The sale lasted six
months, and, had it not been stopped, would have continued six months
longer. Some of the king's dress-suits which had cost twelve hundred
louis fetched no more than five. By the inventory taken immediately
after the 10th of August 1792, and laid before the Legislative
Assembly, it appears that the moveables of every description
contained in this palace were valued at 12,540,158 livres (_circa_
L522,560 sterling,) in which was included the amount of the thefts,
committed on that day, estimated at 1,000,000 livres, and that of the
dilapidations, at the like sum, making together about L84,000
sterling.

When Catherine de Medicis inhabited the palace of the _Tuileries_, it
was connected to the _Louvre_ by a garden, in the middle of which was
a large pond, always well stocked with fish for the supply of the
royal table. Lewis XIV transformed this garden into a spacious square
or _place_, where in the year 1662, he gave to the queen dowager and
his royal consort a magnificent fete, at which, were assembled
princes, lords, and knights, with their ladies, from every part of
Europe. Hence the square was named

PLACE DU CARROUSEL.

Previously to the revolution, the palace of the _Tuileries_, on this
side, was defended by a wall, pierced by three gates opening into as
many courts, separated by little buildings, which, in part, served
for lodging a few troops and their horses. All these buildings are
taken down; the _Place du Carrousel_ is considerably enlarged by the
demolition of various circumjacent edifices; and the wall is replaced
by a handsome iron railing, fixed on a parapet about four feet high.
In this railing are three gates, the centre one of which is
surmounted by cocks, holding in their beak a civic crown over the
letters R. F. the initials of the words _Republique Francaise_. On
each side of it are small lodges, built of stone; and at the entrance
are constantly posted two _vedettes_, belonging to the
horse-grenadiers of the consular guard.

On the piers of the other two gates are placed the four famous horses
of gilt bronze, brought from St. Mark's place at Venice, whither they
had been carried after the capture of Byzantium. These productions
are generally ascribed to the celebrated Lysippus, who flourished in
the reign of Alexander the Great, about 325 years before the
christian era; though this opinion is questioned by some distguished
antiquaries and artists. Whoever may be the sculptor, their destiny
is of a nature to fix attention, as their removal has always been the
consequence of a political revolution. After, the conquest of Greece
by the Romans, they were transported from Corinth to Rome, for the
purpose of adorning the triumphal arch of Septimius Severus. Hence
they were removed to Byzantium, when that city became the seat of the
eastern empire. From Byzantium, they were conveyed to Venice, and
from Venice they have at last reached Paris.

As on the plain of Pharsalia the fate of Rome was decided by Caesar's
triumph over Pompey, so on the _Place du Carrousel_ the fate of
France by the triumph of the Convention over Robespierre and his
satellites. Here, Henriot, one of his most devoted creatures, whom he
had raised to the situation of commandant general of the Parisian
guard, after having been carried prisoner before the Committee of
Public Safety, then sitting in the palace of the _Tuileries_, was
released by Coffinhal, the President of the Revolutionary Tribunal,
who suddenly made his appearance at the head of a large body of horse
and foot, supported by four pieces of cannon served by gunners the
most devoted to Robespierre.

It was half past seven o'clock in the evening, where Coffinhal,
decorated with his municipal scarf, presented himself before the
Committee: all the members thought themselves lost, and their fright
communicating to the very bosom of the Convention, there spread
confusion and terror. But Coffinhal's presence of mind was not equal
to his courage: he availed himself only in part of his advantage.
After having, without the slightest resistance, disarmed the guards
attached to the Convention, he loosened the fettered hands of Henriot
and his aides-de-camp, and conducted them straight to the _Maison
Commune_.

It is an incontestable fact that had either Coffinhal or Henriot
imitated the conduct of Cromwell in regard to the Levellers, and
marched at the head of their troops into the hall of the Convention,
he might have carried all before him, and Robespierre's tyranny would
have been henceforth established on a basis not to be shaken.

But, when Henriot soon after appeared on the _Place du Carrousel_,
with his staff and a number of followers, he in vain endeavoured by
haranguing the people to stir them up to act against the Convention;
his voice was drowned in tumultuous clamours, and he was deserted by
his hitherto-faithful gunners. The Convention had had time to recover
from their panic, and to enlighten the Sections. Henriot was outlawed
by that assembly, and, totally disconcerted by this news, he fled for
refuge to the _Maison Commune_, where Robespierre and all his
accomplices were soon surrounded, and fell into the hands of those
whom but an instant before, they had proscribed as conspirators
deserving of the most exemplary punishment.

Henriot, confused and terrified, sought his safety in flight, and was
stealing along one of the galleries of the _Maison Commune_ when he
met Coffinhal, who was also flying. At the sight of Henriot, who on
coming from the Committee, had pledged his life on the success of his
measures, Coffinhal was unable to check his rage. "Coward!" said he
to him, "to this then has led your certain means of defence!
Scoundrel! you shall not escape the death you are endeavouring to
avoid!" Saying these words, he seized Henriot by the middle, and
threw him out of a window of the second story of the _Maison
Commune_. Henriot falling on the roof of a building in a narrow
street adjoining, was not killed; but he had scarcely recovered
himself before he was recognized by some soldiers in quest of him: he
then crawled into a sewer, close to the spot where he had fallen;
when a soldier thrusting his bayonet into the sewer, put out one of
his eyes, and forced him to surrender.

Thus, the destiny of France, as is seen, hung by the thread of the
moment. It will be recollected that Henriot had the arsenal at his
disposal; he commanded the Parisian guard, and six thousand men
encamped on the _Plaine des Sablons_, close to the capital: in a
word, all the springs of the public force were in his hands. Had he
seized the critical minute, and attacked the Convention at the
instant of his release, the scene of the 10th of August would have
been renewed, and the _Place du Carrousel_ again stained with the
blood of thousands.



LETTER XI.

_Paris, November 5, 1801._

I rise much later to-day than usual, in consequence of not having
gone to bed till near seven o'clock this morning. Happening to call
yesterday on a French lady of my acquaintance, I perceived some
preparations which announced that she expected company. She did not
leave me long in suspense, but invited me to her party for that
evening.

This good lady, who is no longer in the flower of her age, was still
in bed, though it was four o'clock when I paid my visit. On
expressing my fears that she was indisposed, she assured me of the
contrary, at the same time adding that she seldom rose till five in
the afternoon, on account of her being under the necessity of keeping
late hours. I was so struck by the expression, that I did not
hesitate to ask her what was the _necessity_ which compelled her to
make a practice of turning day into night? She very courteously gave
me a complete solution of this enigma, of which the following is the
substance.

"During the reign of terror," said she, "several of us _ci-devant
noblesse_ lost our nearest relatives, and with them our property,
which was either confiscated, or put under sequestration, so that we
were absolutely threatened by famine. When the prisoners were
massacred in September 1792, I left nothing unattempted to save the
life of my uncle and grandfather, who were both in confinement in the
_Abbaye_. All my efforts were unavailing. My interference served only
to exasperate their murderers and contributed, I fear, to accelerate
their death, which it was my misfortune to witness. Their inhuman
butchers, from whom I had patiently borne every species of insult,
went so far as to present to me, on the end of a pike, a human heart,
which had the appearance of having been broiled on the embers,
assuring me that, as it was the heart of my uncle, I might eat it
with safety."--Here an ejaculation, involuntarily escaping me,
interrupted her for a moment.

"For my part," continued she, "I was so overwhelmed by a conflict of
rage, despair, and grief, that I scarcely retained the use of my
senses. The excess of my horror deprived me of utterance.--What
little I was able to save from the wreck of my fortune, not affording
me sufficient means of subsistence, I was, however reluctantly, at
length compelled to adopt a plan of life, by which I saw other women,
in my forlorn situation, support a decent appearance. I therefore
hired suitable apartments, and twice in each decade, I receive
company. On one of these two nights I give a ball and supper, and on
the other, under the name of _societe_, I have cards only.

"Having a numerous circle of female acquaintance," concluded she, "my
balls are generally well attended: those who are not fond of dancing,
play at the _bouillotte_; and the card-money defrays the expenses of
the entertainment, leaving me a handsome profit. In short, these six
parties, during the month, enable me to pay my rent, and produce me a
tolerable pittance."

This meloncholy recital affected me so much, that, on its being
terminated, I was unable to speak; but I have reason to think that a
favourable construction was put on my silence. A volume, of the size
of a family bible, would not be sufficient to display half the
contrasts engendered by the revolution. Many a _Marquise_ has been
obliged to turn sempstress, in order to gain a livelihood; but my
friend the _Comtesse_ had much ready wit, though no talents of that
description. Having soothed her mind by venting a few imprecations
against the murderers of her departed relatives, she informed me that
her company began to assemble between the hours of eleven and twelve,
and begged that I would not fail to come to her

PRIVATE BALL.

About twelve o'clock, I accordingly went thither, as I had promised,
when I found the rooms perfectly crowded. Among a number of very
agreeable ladies, several were to be distinguished for the elegance
of their figure, though there were no more than three remarkable for
beauty. These terrestrial divinities would not only have embarrassed
the Grand Signior for a preference, but even have distracted the
choice of the Idalian shepherd himself. The dancing was already begun
to an excellent band of music, led by Citizen JULIEN, a mulatto,
esteemed the first player of country-dances in Paris. Of the dancers,
some of the women really astonished me by the ease and gracefulness
of their movements: steps, which are known to be the most difficult,
seemed to cost them not the smallest exertion. Famous as they have
ever been for dancing, they seem now, in Cibber's words, "to outdo
their usual outdoings."

In former times, an extraordinary degree of curiosity was excited by
any female who excelled in this pleasing accomplishment. I remember
to have read that Don Juan of Austria, governor of the Low Countries,
set out post from Brussels, and came to Paris _incog._ on purpose to
see Marguerite de Valois dance at a dress-ball, this princess being
reckoned, at that time, the best dancer in Europe. What then would be
the admiration of such an _amateur_, could he now behold the
perfection attained here by some of the beauties of the present day?

The men, doubtless, determined to vie with the women, seemed to pride
themselves more on agility than grace, and, by attempting whatever
required extraordinary effort, reminded me of _figurans_ on the
stage, so much have the Parisian youth adopted a truly theatrical
style of dancing.

The French country-dances (or cotilions, as we term them in England)
and waltzes, which are as much in vogue here as in Germany, were
regularly interchanged. However, the Parisians, in my opinion, cannot
come up to the Germans in this, their native dance. I should have
wished to have had Lavater by my side, and heard his opinion of the
characters of the different female waltzers. It is a very curious and
interesting spectacle to see one woman assume a languishing air,
another a vacant smile, a third an aspect of stoical indifference;
while a fourth seems lost in a voluptuous trance, a fifth captivates
by an amiable modesty, a sixth affects the cold insensibility of a
statue, and so on in ever-varying succession, though all turning to
the animating changes of the same lively waltz. In short I observed
that, in this species of dance, the eyes and feet of almost every
woman appeared to be constantly at variance.

Without assuming the part of a moralist, I cannot help thinking that
Werter was not altogether in the wrong when he swore, that, were it
to cost him his life, no woman on whom he had set his affections,
should ever waltz with any one but himself. I am not singular in this
opinion; for I recollect to have met with the same ideas in a book
written by M. JACOBI, I think, a German author.

Speaking of the waltz, "We either ought," says he, "not to boast so
much of the propriety of our manners, or else not suffer that our
wives and daughters, in a complete delirium, softly pressed in the
arms of men, bosom to bosom, should thus be hurried away by the sound
of intoxicating music. In this _whirligig_ dance, every one seems to
forget the rules of decorum; and though an innocent, young creature,
exposed in this manner, were to remain pure and spotless, can she,
without horror, reflect that she becomes, the sport of the
imagination of the licentious youths to whom she so abandons herself?
It were to be wished," adds he, "that our damsels (I mean those who
preserve any vestige of bashfulness), might, concealed in a private
corner, hear sometimes the conversation of those very men to whom
they yield themselves with so little reserve and caution."

To the best of my recollection, these are the sentiments of M.
JACOBI, expressed twelve or fourteen years ago; yet I do not find
that the waltz is discontinued, or even less practised, in Germany,
than it was at the time when his work first appeared. This dance,
like every other French fashion, has now found its way into England,
and is introduced between the acts, by way of interlude I presume, at
some of our grand private balls and assemblies. But, however I may be
amused by the waltzing of the Parisian belles, I feel too much regard
for my fair country-women to wish to see them adopt a dance, which,
by throwing them off their guard, lays them completely open to the
shafts of ridicule and malice.

Leaving this point to be settled by the worthy part of our British
matrons, let us return to the Parisian ball, from which I have been
led into a little digression.

The dancing continued in this manner, that is, French country-dances
and waltzes alternately, till four o'clock, when soup was brought
round to all the company. This was dispatched _sans facon_, as fast
as it could be procured. It was a prelude to the cold supper, which
was presently served in another spacious apartment. No sooner were
the folding-doors of an adjoining room thrown open, than I observed
that, large as it was, it could not possibly afford accommodation to
more than half of the number present. I therefore remained in the
back-ground, naturally supposing that places would first be provided
for all the women. Not so, my friend; several men seated themselves,
and, in the twinkling of an eye, deranged the economy of the whole
table; while the female bystanders were necessitated to seek seats at
some temporary tables placed in the ballroom. Here too were they in
luck if they obtained a few fragments from the grand board; for, such
determined voracity was there exhibited, that so many vultures or
cormorants could not have been more expeditious in clearing the
dishes.

For instance, an enormous salmon, which would have done honour to the
Tweed or the Severn, graced the middle of the principal table. In
less than five minutes after the company were seated, I turned round,
and missing the fish, inquired whether it had proved tainted. No: but
it is all devoured, was the reply of a young man, who, pointing to
the bone, offered me a pear and a piece of bread, which he shrewdly
observed was all that I might probably get to recruit my strength at
this entertainment. I took the hint, and, with the addition of a
glass of common wine, at once made my supper.

In half an hour, the tables being removed, the ball was resumed, and
apparently with renewed spirit. The card-room had never been
deserted. _Mind the main chance_ is a wholesome maxim, which the good
lady of the house seemed not to have forgotten. Assisted by a sort of
_croupier_, she did the honours of the _bouillotte_ with that
admirable sang-froid which you and I have often witnessed in some of
our hostesses of fashion; and, had she not communicated to me the
secret, I should have been the last to suspect, while she appeared so
indifferent, that she, like those ladies, had so great an interest in
the card-party being continued till morning.

As an old acquaintance, she took an opportunity of saying to, me,
with joy in her eyes: "_Le jeu va bien_;" but, at the same time,
expressed her regret that the supper was such a scramble. While we
were in conversation, I inquired the name and character of the most
striking women in the room, and found that, though a few of them
might be reckoned substantial in fortune, as well as in reputation,
the female part of the company was chiefly composed of ladies who,
like herself, had suffered by the revolution; several were divorced
from their husbands, but as incompatibility of temper was the general
plea for such a disunion, that alone could not operate as a blemish.

To judge of the political predilection of these belles from their
exterior, a stranger would, nine times out of ten, be led into a
palpable error. He might naturally conclude them to be attached to a
republican system, since they have, in general, adopted the Athenian
form of attire as their model; though they have not, in the smallest
degree, adopted the simple manners of that people. Their arms are
bare almost to the very shoulder; their bosom is, in a great measure,
uncovered; their ankles are encircled by narrow ribbands in imitation
of the fastenings of sandals; and their hair, turned up close behind,
is confined on the crown of the head in a large knot, as we see it in
the antique busts of Grecian beauties.

The rest of their dress is more calculated to display, than to veil
the contours of their person. It was thus explained to me by my
friend, the _ci-devant Comtesse_, who at the same time assured  me
that young French women, clad in this airy manner, brave all the
rigour of winter. "A simple piece of linen, slightly laced before,"
said she, "while it leaves the waist uncompressed, answers the
purpose of a corset. If they put on a robe, which is not open in
front, they dispense with petticoats altogether; their cambric
_chemise_ having the semblance of one, from its skirt being trimmed
with lace. When attired for a ball, those who dance, as you may
observe, commonly put on a tunic, and then a petticoat becomes a
matter of necessity, rather than of choice. Pockets being deemed an
incumbrance, they wear none: what money they carry, is contained in a
little morocco leather purse; this is concealed in the centre of the
bosom, whose form, in our well-shaped women, being that of the
Medicean Venus, the receptacle occasionally serves for a little gold
watch, or some other trinket, which is suspended to the neck by a
collar of hair, decorated with various ornaments. When they dance,
the fan is introduced within the zone or girdle; and the handkerchief
is kept in the pocket of some sedulous swain, to whom the fair one
has recourse when she has occasion for it. Some of the elderly
ladies, like myself," added she, "carry these appendages in a sort of
work-bag, denominated a _ridicule_. Not long since, this was the
universal fashion first adopted as a substitute for pockets; but, at
present, it is totally laid aside by the younger classes."

The men at this ball, were, for the most part, of the military class,
thinly interspersed with returned emigrants. Some of the generals and
colonels were in their hussar dress-uniform, which is not only
exceedingly becoming to a well-formed man, but also extremely
splendid and costly. All the seams of the jacket and pantaloons of
the generals are covered with rich and tasteful embroidery, as well
as their sabre-tash, and those of the colonels with gold or silver
lace: a few even wore boots of red morocco leather.

Most of the Gallic youths, having served in the armies, either a few
years ago under the requisition, or more recently under the
conscription, have acquired a martial air, which is very discernible,
in spite of their _habit bourgeois_. The brown coat cannot disguise
the soldier. I have met with several young merchants of the first
respectability in Paris, who had served, some two, others four years
in the ranks, and constantly refused every sort of advancement. Not
wishing to remain in the army, and relinquish the mercantile
profession in which they had been educated, they cheerfully passed
through their military servitude as privates, and, in that station,
like true soldiers, gallantly fought their country's battles.

The hour of six being arrived, I was assailed, on all sides, by
applications to set down this or that lady, as the morning was very
rainy, and, independently of the long rank of hackney-coaches, which
had been drawn up at the door, every vehicle that could be procured,
had long been in requisition. The mistress of the house had informed
two of her particular female friends that I had a carriage in
waiting; and as I could accommodate only a certain number at a time,
after having consented to take those ladies home first; I conceived
myself at liberty, on my return, to select the rest of my convoy. To
relieve beauty in distress was one of the first laws of ancient
chivalry; and no knight ever accomplished that vow with greater
ardour than I did on this occasion.



LETTER XII.

_Paris, November 7, 1801._

My impatience is at length gratified. I have seen BONAPARTE.
Yesterday, the 6th, as I mentioned in a former letter, was the day of
the grand parade, which now takes place on the fifteenth only of
every month of the Republican Calendar. The spot where this military
spectacle is exhibited, is the court-yard of the palace of the
_Tuileries_, which, as I have before observed, is enclosed by a low
parapet wall, surmounted by a handsome iron railing.

From the kind attention of friend, I had the option of being admitted
into the palace, or introduced into the hotel of Cn. MARET, the
Secretary of State, which adjoins to the palace, and standing at
right angles with it, commands a full view of the court where the
troops are assembled. In the former place, I was told, I should not,
on account of the crowd, have an opportunity to see the parade,
unless I took my station at a window two or three hours before it
began; while from the latter, I should enjoy the sight without any
annoyance or interruption.

Considering that an interval of a month, by producing a material
change in the weather, might render the parade far less brilliant and
attractive, and also that such an offer might not occur a second
time, I made no hesitation in preferring Cn. MARET'S hotel.

Accompanied by my introducer, I repaired thither about half past
eleven o'clock, and certainly I had every reason to congratulate
myself on my election. I was ushered into a handsome room on the
first-floor, where I found the windows partly occupied by some lovely
women. Having paid my devoirs to the ladies, I entered into
conversation with an officer of rank of my acquaintance, who had
introduced me to them; and from him I gathered the following
particulars respecting the

GRAND MONTHLY PARADE.

On the fifteenth of every month, the First Consul in person reviews
all the troops of the consular guard, as well as those quartered in
Paris, as a garrison, or those which may happen to be passing through
this city.

The consular guard is composed of two battalions of foot-grenadiers,
two battalions of light infantry, a regiment of horse-grenadiers, a
regiment of mounted chasseurs or guides, and two companies of flying
artillery. All this force may comprise between six and seven thousand
men; but it is in contemplation to increase it by a squadron of
Mamaluks, intermixed with Greeks and Syrians, mounted on Arabian
horses.

This guard exclusively does duty at the palace of the _Tuileries_,
and at _Malmaison_, BONAPARTE's country-seat: it also forms the
military escort of the Consuls. At present it is commanded by General
LASNES; but, according to rumour, another arrangement is on the point
of being made. The consular guard is soon to have no other chief than
the First Consul, and under him are to command, alternately, four
generals; namely, one of infantry, one of cavalry, one of artillery,
and one of engineers; the selection is said to have fallen on the
following officers, BESSIERES, DAVOUST, SOULT, and SONGIS.

The garrison (as it is termed) of Paris is not constantly of the same
strength. At this moment it consists of three demi-brigades of the
line, a demi-brigade of light infantry, a regiment of dragoons, two
demi-brigades of veterans, the horse _gendarmerie_, and a new corps
of choice _gendarmerie_, comprising both horse and foot, and
commanded by the _Chef de brigade_ SAVABY, aide-de-camp to the First
Consul. This garrison may amount to about 15,000 effective men.

The consular guard and all these different corps, equipped in their
best manner, repair to the parade, and, deducting the troops on duty,
the number of men assembled there may, in general be from twelve to
fifteen thousand.

By a late regulation, no one, during the time of the parade, can
remain within the railing of the court, either on foot or horseback,
except the field and staff officers on duty; but persons enter the
apartments of the _Tuileries_, by means of tickets, which are
distributed to a certain number by the governor of the palace.

While my obliging friend was communicating to me the above
information, the troops continued marching into the court below, till
it was so crowded that, at first sight, it appeared impracticable for
them to move, much less to manoeuvre. The morning was extremely fine;
the sun shone in full splendour, and the gold and silver lace and
embroidery on the uniforms of the officers and on the trappings of
their chargers, together with their naked sabres, glittered with
uncommon lustre. The concourse of people without the iron railing was
immense: in short, every spot or building, even to the walls and
rafters of houses under demolition, whence a transient view of the
parade could be obtained, was thronged with spectators.

By twelve o'clock, all the troops were drawn up in excellent order,
and, as you may suppose, presented a grand _coup d'oeil._ I never
beheld a finer set of men than the grenadiers of the consular guard;
but owing, perhaps, to my being accustomed to see our troops with
short skirts, I thought that the extreme length of their coats
detracted from their military air. The horses mostly of Norman breed,
could not be compared to our English steeds, either for make or
figure; but, sorry and rough as is their general appearance, they
are, I am informed, capable of bearing much fatigue, and resisting
such privations as would soon render our more sleek cavalry unfit for
service. That they are active, and surefooted, I can vouch; for, in
all their sudden wheelings and evolutions in this confined space, not
one of them stumbled. They formed, indeed, a striking contrast to the
beautiful white charger that was led about in waiting for the Chief
Consul.

The band of the consular guard, which is both numerous and select,
continued playing martial airs, till the colours having been brought
down from the palace, under the escort of an officer and a small
detachment, the drums beat _aux champs_, and the troops presented
arms, when they were carried to their respective stations. Shortly
after, the impatient steed, just mentioned, was conducted to the foot
of the steps of the grand vestibule of the palace. I kept my eye
stedfastly fixed on that spot; and such was the agility displayed by
BONAPARTE in mounting his horse, that, to borrow the words of
Shakspeare, he seemed to

  "Rise from the ground like feather'd Mercury,
  And vaulted with such ease into his seat,
  As if an angel dropp'd down from the clouds
  To turn and wind a fiery Pegasus,
  And witch the world with noble horsemanship."

Off he went at a hand canter, preceded by his aides-de-camp, and
attended, on his right, by General LASNES and followed by other
superior officers, particularly the general commanding the garrison
of Paris, and him at the head of the district.

BONAPARTE was habited in the consular dress, scarlet velvet
embroidered with gold, and wore a plain cocked hat with the national
cockade. As I purpose to obtain a nearer view of him, by placing
myself in the apartments of the palace on the next parade day, I
shall say nothing of his person till that opportunity offers, but
confine myself to the military show in question.

Having rid rapidly along the several lines of infantry and cavalry,
and saluted the colours as he passed, BONAPARTE (attended by all his
retinue, including a favourite Mamaluk whom he brought from Egypt),
took a central position, when the different corps successively filed
off before him with most extraordinary briskness; the corps composing
the consular guard preceded those of the garrison and all the others:
on inquiry, however, I find, that this order is not always observed.


It is no less extraordinary than true, that the news of the
establishment of this grand parade produced on the mind of the late
emperor of Russia the first impression in favour of the Chief Consul.
No sooner did Paul I. hear of the circumstance, than he exclaimed:
"BONAPARTE is, however, a great man."

Although the day was so favourable, the parade was soon over, as
there was no distribution of arms of honour, such as muskets,
pistols, swords, battle-axes, &c. which the First Consul presents
with his own hand to those officers and soldiers who have
distinguished themselves by deeds of valour or other meritorious
service.

The whole ceremony did not occupy more than half an hour, when
BONAPARTE alighted at the place where he had taken horse, and
returned to his audience-room in the palace, for the purpose of
holding his levee. I shall embrace a future opportunity to speak of
the interior etiquette observed on this occasion in the apartments,
and close this letter with an assurance that you shall have an early
account of the approaching _fete_.



LETTER XIII.

_Paris, November 8, 1801._

Great preparations for the _fete_ of to-morrow have, for several
days, employed considerable numbers of people: it therefore becomes
necessary that I should no longer delay to give you an idea of the
principal scene of action. For that purpose, we must direct our steps
to the

JARDIN DES TUILERIES.

This garden, which is the most magnificent in Paris, was laid out by
the celebrated LE NOTRE in the reign of Lewis XIV. It covers a space
of three hundred and sixty toises[1] long by one hundred and
sixty-eight broad. To the north and south, it is bordered, throughout
its length, by two terraces, one on each side, which, with admirable
art, conceal the irregularity of the ground, and join at the farther
end in the form of a horse-shoe. To the east, it is limited by the
palace of the _Tuileries_; and to the west, by the _Place de la
Concorde_.

From the vestibule of the palace, the perspective produces a most
striking effect: the eye first wanders for a moment over the
extensive parterre, which is divided into compartments, planted with
shrubs and flowers, and decorated with basins, _jets-d'eau_, vases,
and statues in marble and bronze; it then penetrates through a
venerable grove which forms a beautiful vista; and, following the
same line, it afterwards discovers a fine road, bordered with trees,
leading by a gentle ascent to _Pont de Neuilly_, through the
_Barriere de Chaillot_, where the prospect closes.

The portico of the palace has been recently decorated with several
statues. On each side of the principal door is a lion in marble.

The following is the order in which the copies of antique statues,
lately placed in this garden, are at present disposed.

On the terrace towards the river, are: 1. Venus _Anadyomene_. 2. An
Apollo of Belvedere. 3. The group of Laocoon. 4. Diana, called by
antiquaries, _Succincta_. 5. Hercules carrying Ajax.

In front of the palace: 1. A dying gladiator. 2. A fighting
gladiator. 3. The flayer of Marsyas. 4. VENUS, styled _a la
coquille_, crouched and issuing from the bath. N. B. All these
figures are in bronze.

In the alley in front of the parterre, in coming from the terrace
next the river: 1. Flora Farnese. 2. Castor and Pollux. 3. Bacchus
instructing young Hercules. 4. Diana.

On the grass-plot, towards the _manege_ or riding-house, Hippomenes
and Atalanta. At the further end is an Apollo, in front of the
horse-shoe walk, decorated with a sphynx at each extremity.

In the corresponding gras-plot towards the river, Apollo and Daphne;
and at the further end, a Venus _Callypyga_, or (according to the
French term) _aux belles fesses_.

In the compartment by the horse-chesnut trees, towards the
riding-house, the Centaur. On the opposite side, the Wrestlers.
Farther on, though on the same side, an Antinoues.

In the niche, under the steps in the middle of the terrace towards
the river, a Cleopatra.

In the alley of orange-trees, near the _Place de la Concorde_,
Meleager; and on the terrace, next to the riding-house, Hercules
Farnese.

In the niche to the right, in front of the octagonal basin, a Faun
carrying a kid. In the one to the left, Mercury Farnese.

Independently of these copies after the antique, the garden is
decorated with several other modern statues, by COYZEVOX, REGNAUDIN,
COSTOU, LE GROS, LE PAUTRE, &c. which attest the degree of perfection
that had been attained, in the course of the last century, by French
sculptors. For a historical account of them, I refer you to a work,
which I shall send you by the first opportunity, written by the
learned MILLIN.

Here, in summer, the wide-spreading foliage of the lofty
horse-chesnut trees afford a most agreeable shade; the air is
cooled by the continual play of the _jets-d'eau_; while upwards of
two hundred orange-trees, which are then set out, impregnate it with
a delightful perfume. The garden is now kept in much better order
than it was under the monarchy. The flower-beds are carefully
cultivated; the walks are well gravelled, rolled, and occasionally
watered; in a word, proper attention is paid to the convenience
of the public.

But, notwithstanding these attractions, as long as it was necessary
for every person entering this garden to exhibit to the sentinels the
national cockade, several fair royalists chose to relinquish its
charming walks, shaded by trees of a hundred years' growth, rather
than comply with the republican mandate. Those anti-revolutionary
_elegantes_ resorted to other promenades; but, since the accession of
the consular government, the wearing of this doubtful emblem of
patriotism has been dispensed with, and the garden of the _Tuileries_
is said to be now as much frequented in the fine season as at any
period of the old _regime_.

The most constant visiters are the _quidnuncs_, who, according to the
difference of the seasons, occupy alternately three walks; the
_Terrasse des Feuillans_ in winter; that which is immediately
underneath in spring; and the centre or grand alley during the summer
or autumn.

Before the revolution, this garden was not open to the populace,
except on the festival of St. Lewis, and the eve preceding, when
there was always a public concert, given under a temporary
amphitheatre erected against the west facade of the palace: at
present no person whatever is refused admittance.

There are six entrances, at each of which sentinels are regularly
mounted from the grenadiers of the consular guard; and, independently
of the grand guard-room over the vestibule of the palace, there is
one at the end of the garden which opens on the _Place de la
Concorde_, and another on the _Terrasse des Feuillans_.

But what is infinitely more interesting, on this terrace, is a new
and elegant building, somewhat resembling a _casino_, which at once
unites every accommodation that can be wished for in a coffee-house,
a tavern, or a confectioner's. Here you may breakfast _a l'Anglaise_
or _a la fourchette_, that is in the most substantial manner, in the
French fashion, read the papers, dine, or sup sumptuously in any
style you choose, or drink coffee and liqueurs, or merely eat ices.
While thus engaged, you enjoy a full view of the company passing and
repassing, and what adds beyond measure to the beauty of the scene,
is the presence of the ladies, who not unfrequently come hither with
their admirers to indulge in a _tete-a-tete_, or make larger parties
to dine or sup at these fashionable rendezvous of good cheer.

According to the scandalous chronicle, Very, the master of the house,
is indebted to the charms of his wife for the occupation of this
tasteful edifice, which had been erected by the government on a spot
of ground that was national property, and, of course, at its
disposal. Several candidates were desirous to be tenants of a
building at once so elegant and so centrical. Very himself had been
unsuccessful, though he had offered a _pot de vin_ (that is the
Parisian term for _good-will_) of five hundred louis, and six
thousand francs a year rent. His handsome wife even began to
apprehend that her mission would be attended with no better fortune.
She presented herself, however, to the then Minister of the Interior,
who, unrelenting as he had hitherto been to all the competitors, did
not happen to be a Scipio. On the contrary, he is said to have been
so struck by the person of the fair supplicant, that he at once
declared his readiness to accede to her request, on condition that
she would favour him with her company to supper, and not forget to
put her night-cap in her pocket. _Relata refero_.

Be this as it may, I assure you that Madame Very, without being a
perfect beauty, is what the French call a _beau corps de femme_, or,
in plain English, a very desirable woman, and such as few ministers
of L'n. B--------te's years would choose to dismiss unsatisfied. This
is not the age of continence, and I am persuaded that any man who
sees and converses with the amiable Madame Very, if he do not envy
the Minister the nocturnal sacrifice, will, on contemplating the
elegance of her arrangements, at least allow that this spot of ground
has not been disposed of to disadvantage.

Every step we take, in this quarter of Paris, calls to mind some
remarkable circumstance of the history of the revolution. As the
classic reader, in visiting _Troas_, would endeavour to trace the
site of those interesting scenes described in the sublime numbers of
the prince of poets; so the calm observer, in perambulating this
garden, cannot but reflect on the great political events of which it
has been the theatre. In front of the west facade of the palace, the
unfortunate Lewis XVI, reviewed the Swiss, and some of the national
guards, very early in the morning of the 10th of August 1792. On the
right, close to the _Terrasse des Feuillans_, still stands the
_manege_ or riding-house, where the National Assembly at that time
held their sittings, and whither the king, with his family, was
conducted by ROEDERER, the deputy. That building, after having since
served for various purposes, is at present shut up, and will,
probably, be taken down, in consequence of projected improvements in
this quarter.

In the centre of the west end of the garden, was the famous _Pont
tournant_, by which, on the 11th of July 1789, the Prince de Lambesc
entered it at the head of his regiment of cavalry, and, by
maltreating some peaceable saunterers, gave the Parisians a specimen
of what they were to expect from the disposition of the court. This
inconsiderate _galopade_, as the French term it, was the first signal
of the general insurrection.

The _Pont tournant_ is destroyed, and the ditch filled up. Leaving
the garden of the _Tuileries_ by this issue, we enter the

PLACE DE LA CONCORDE.

This is the new name given to the _Place de Louis XV_. After the
abolition of royalty in France, it was called the _Place de la
Revolution_. When the reign of terror ceased, by the fall of
Robespierre, it obtained its present appellation, which forms a
strong contrast to the number of victims that have here been
sacrificed to the demon of faction.

This square, which is seven hundred and eighty feet in length by six
hundred and thirty in breadth, was planned after the treaty of
Aix-la-Chapelle, and finished in 1763. It forms a parallelogram
with its angles cut off, which are surrounded by ditches, guarded by
balustrades, breast high. To repair from the _Tuileries_ to the
_Champs Elysees_, you cross it in a straight line from east to west,
and from north to south, to proceed from the _Rue de la Concorde
(ci-devant Rue Royale)_ to the _Pont de la Concorde (ci-devant
Pont de Louis XVI.)_

Near the intersection of these roads stood the equestrian statue in
bronze of Lewis XV, which caught the eye in a direct line with the
centre of the grand alley of the garden of the _Tuileries_. It has
since been replaced by a statue of Liberty. This colossal figure was
removed a few days ago, and, by all accounts, will not be re-erected.

The north part of this square, the only one that is occupied by
buildings, presents, on each side of the _Rue de la Concorde_, two
edifices, each two hundred and forty-eight feet in front, decorated
with insulated columns of the Corinthian order, to the number of
twelve, and terminated by two pavilions, with six columns, crowned by
a pediment. On the ground-floor of these edifices, one of which, that
next the _Tuileries_, was formerly the _Garde-Meuble de la Couronne_,
are arcades that form a gallery, in like manner as the colonnade
above, the cornice of which is surmounted by a balustrade. I have
been thus particular in describing this facade, in order to enable
you to judge of the charming effect which it must produce, when
illuminated with thousands of lamps on the occasion of the grand
_fete_ in honour of peace, which takes place to-morrow.

It was in the right hand corner of this square, as you come out of
the garden of the _Tuileries_ by the centre issue, that the terrible
guillotine was erected. From the window of a friend's room, where I
am now writing, I behold the very spot which has so often been
drenched with the mixed blood of princes, poets, legislators,
philosophers, and plebeians. On that spot too fell the head of one of
the most powerful monarchs in Europe.

I have heard much regret expressed respecting this execution; I have
witnessed much lamentation excited by it both in England and France;
but I question whether any of those loyal subjects, who deserted
their king when they saw him in danger, will ever manifest the
sincere affection, the poignant sensibility of DOMINIQUE SARREDE.

To follow Henry IV to the battle of Ivry in 1533, SARREDE had his
wounded leg cut off, in order that he might be enabled to sit on
horseback. This was not all. His attachment to his royal master was
so great, that, in passing through the _Rue de la Ferronnerie_ two
days after the  assassination of that prince, and surveying the fatal
place where it had been committed, he was so overcome by grief, that
he fell almost dead on the spot, and actually expired the next
morning. I question, I say, whether any one of those emigrants, who
made so officious a display of their zeal, when they knew it to be
unavailing, will ever moisten with a single tear the small space of
earth stained with the blood of their unfortunate monarch.

Since I have been in Paris, I have met with a person of great
respectability, totally unconnected with politics, who was present at
several of those executions: at first he attended them from
curiosity, which soon degenerated into habit, and at last became an
occupation. He successively beheld the death of Charlotte Corday,
Madame Roland, Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, Madame Elizabeth,
Philippe Egalite, Madame du Barry, Danton, Robespierre, Couthon, St.
Just, Henriot, Fouquier-Tinville, _cum mullis aliis_, too numerous to
mention.

Among other particulars, this person informed me that Lewis XVI
struggled much, by which the fatal instrument cut through the back of
his head, and severed his jaw: the queen was more resigned; on the
scaffold, she even apologized to Samson, the executioner in chief,
for treading accidentally on his toe. Madame Roland met her fate with
the calm heroism of a Roman matron. Charlotte Corday died with a
serene and dignified countenance; one of the executioners having
seized her head when it fell, and given it several slaps, this base
act of cowardice raised a general murmur among the people.

As to Robespierre, no sooner had he ascended the scaffold, amid the
vociferous acclamations of the joyful multitude, than the executioner
tore off the dirty bandage in which his wounded head was enveloped
and which partlv concealed his pale and ferocious visage. This made
the wretch roar like a wild beast. His under jaw then falling from
the upper, and streams of blood gushing from the wound, gave him the
most ghastly appearance that can be imagined. When the national
razor, as the guillotine was called by his partisans, severed
Robespierre's head from his body; and the executioner, taking it by
the hair, held it up to the view of the spectators, the plaudits
lasted for twenty minutes. Couthon, St. Just, and Henriot, his
heralds of murder, who were placed in the same cart with himself,
next paid the debt of their crimes. They were much disfigured, and
the last had lost an eye. Twenty-two persons were guillotined at the
same time with Robespierre, all of them his satellites. The next day,
seventy members of the commune, and the day following twelve others,
shared the fate of their atrocious leader, who, not many hours
before, was styled the virtuous and incorruptible patriot.

You may, probably, imagine that, whatever dispatch might be employed,
the execution of seventy persons, would demand a rather considerable
portion of time, an hour and a half, or two hours, for instance. But,
how wide of the mark! Samson, the executioner of Paris, worked the
guillotine with such astonishing quickness, that, including the
preparatives of the punishment, he has been known to cut off no less
than forty-five heads, the one after the other, in the short space of
fifteen minutes; consequently, at this expeditious rate of three
heads in one minute it required no more than twenty-three minutes and
twenty seconds to decapitate seventy persons.

Guillotin, the physician, who invented or rather improved this
machine, which is called after his name with a feminine termination,
is said to have been a man of humanity; and, on that principle alone,
he recommended the use of it, from the idea of saving from painful
sensations criminals condemned to die. Seeing the abuse made of it,
from the facility which it afforded of dispatching several persons in
a few minutes, he took the circumstance so much to heart that grief
speedily shortened his existence.

According to Robespierre, however, the axe of the guillotine did not
do sufficient execution. One of his satellites announced to him the
invention of an instrument which struck off nine heads at once: the
discovery pleased him, and he caused several trials of this new
machine to be made at _Bicetre_. It did not answer; but human nature
gained nothing by its failure. Instead of half a dozen victims a day,
Robespierre wished to have daily fifty or sixty, or more; and he was
but too well obeyed. Not only had he his own private lists of
proscription; but all his creatures, from the president of the
revolutionary tribunal down to the under-jailers, had similar lists;
and the _almanac royal_, or French court calendar, was converted into
one by himself.

The inhabitants of the streets through which the unfortunate
sufferers were carried, wearied at length by the daily sight of so
melancholy a spectacle, ventured to utter complaints. Robespierre, no
less suspicious than cruel, was alarmed, and, dreading an
insurrection, removed the scene of slaughter. The scaffold was
erected on the _Place de la Bastille_: but the inhabitants of this
quarter also murmured, and the guillotine was transferred to the
_Barriere St. Antoine_.

Had not this modern Nero been cut off in the midst of his cruelties,
it is impossible to say where he would have stopped. Being one day
asked the question, he coolly answered: "The generation which has
witnessed the old _regime_, will always regret it. Every individual
who was more than fifteen in 1789, must be put to death: this is the
only way to consolidate the revolution."

It was the same in the departments as in Paris. Every where blood ran
in streams. In all the principal towns the guillotine was rendered
permanent, in order, as Robespierre expressed himself, to _regenerate
the nation_. If this sanguinary monster did not intend to "wade
through slaughter to a throne," it is certain at least that he "shut
the gates of mercy on mankind."

But what cannot fail to excite your astonishment and that of every
thinking person, is, that, in the midst of these executions, in the
midst of these convulsions of the state, in the midst of these
struggles for power, in the midst of these outcries against the
despots of the day, in the midst of famine even, not artificial, but
real; in short, in the midst of an accumulation of horrors almost
unexampled, the fiddle and tambourin never ceased. Galas, concerts,
and balls were given daily in incredible numbers; and no less than
from fifteen to twenty theatres, besides several, other places of
public entertainment, were constantly open, and almost as constantly
filled.

P. S. I am this moment informed of the arrival of Lord Cornwallis.

[Footnote 1: The ratio between the English fathom and the French
toise, as determined between the first astronomers of both countries,
is as 72 to 76.734.]



LETTER XIV.

_Paris, November 10, 1801._

On the evening of the 8th, there was a representation _gratis_ at all
the theatres, it being the eve of the great day, of the occurrences
of which I shall now, agreeably to my promise, endeavour to give you
a narrative. I mean the

  NATIONAL FETE,
  IN HONOUR OF PEACE,
  _Celebrated on the 18th of Brumaire, year X_,
  _the anniversary of_ BONAPARTE'S
  _accession to the consulate_.

Notwithstanding the prayers which the Parisians had addressed to the
sun for the preceding twenty-four hours,

  "----_Nocte pluit tota, redeunt spectacula mane_,"

it rained all night, and was still raining yesterday morning, when
the day was ushered in by discharges of artillery from the saluting
battery at the _Hotel des Invalides_. This did not disturb me; I
slept soundly till, about eight o'clock, a tintamarre of trumpets,
kettle-drums, &c. almost directly under my window, roused me from my
peaceful slumber. For fear of losing the sight, I immediately
presented myself at the casement, just as I rose, in my shirt and
night-cap. The officers of the police, headed by the Prefect, and
escorted by a party of dragoons, came to the _Place des Victoires_,
as the third station, to give publicity, by word of mouth, to the
Proclamation of the Consuls, of which I inclose you a printed copy.
The civil officers were habited in their dresses of parade, and
decorated with tricoloured sashes; the heads of their steeds, which,
by the bye, were not of a fiery, mettlesome race, being adorned in
like manner.

This ceremony being over, I returned not to bed, but sat down to a
substantial breakfast, which I considered necessary for preparing my
strength for the great fatigues of so busy a day. Presently the
streets were crowded with people moving towards the river-side,
though small, but heavy rain continued falling all the forenoon. I
therefore remained at home, knowing that there was nothing yet to be
seen for which it was worth while to expose myself to a good wetting.

At two o'clock the sun appeared, as if to satisfy the eager desire of
the Parisians; the mist ceased, and the weather assumed a promising
aspect. In a moment the crowd in the streets was augmented by a
number of persons who had till now kept within doors, in readiness to
go out, like the Jews keeping Easter, _cincti renibus & comedentes
festinantur_. I also sallied forth, but alone, having previously
refused every invitation from my friends and acquaintance to place
myself at any window, or join any party, conceiving that the best
mode to follow the bent of my humour was to go unaccompanied, and,
not confining myself to any particular spot or person, stroll about
wherever the most interesting objects presented themselves.

With this view, I directed my steps towards the _Tuileries_, which,
in spite of the immense crowd, I reached without the smallest
inconvenience. The appearance of carriages of every kind had been
strictly prohibited, with the exception of those belonging to the
British ambassador; a compliment well intended, no doubt, and very
gratifying when the streets were so extremely dirty.

For some time I amused myself with surveying the different
countenances of the groups within immediate reach of my observation,
and which to me was by no means the least diverting part of the
scene; but on few of them could I discover any other impression than
that of curiosity: I then took my station in the garden of the
_Tuileries_, on the terrace next the river. Hence was a view of the
_Temple of Commerce_ rising above the water, on that part of the
Seine comprised between the _Pont National_ and the _Pont Neuf_. The
quays on each side were full of people; and the windows, as well as
the roofs of all the neighbouring houses, were crowded beyond
conception. In the newspapers, the sum of 500 francs, or L20
sterling, was asked for the hire of a single window of a house in
that quarter.

Previously to my arrival, a flotilla of boats, decked with streamers
and flags of different colours, had ascended the river from
_Chaillot_ to this temple, and were executing divers evolutions
around it, for the entertainment of the Parisians, who quite drowned
the music by their more noisy acclamations.

About half after three, the First Consul appeared at one of the
windows of the apartments of the Third Consul, LEBRUN, which, being
situated in the _Pavillon de Flore_, as it is called, at the south
end of the palace of the _Tuileries_, command a complete view of the
river. He and LEBRUN were both dressed in their consular uniform.

In a few minutes, a balloon, previously prepared at this floating
_Temple of Commerce_, and adorned with the flags of different
nations, ascended thence with majestic slowness, and presently took
an almost horizontal direction to the south-west. In the car attached
to it were Garnerin, the celebrated aeronaut, his wife, and two other
persons, who kept waving their tricoloured flags, but were soon under
the necessity of putting them away for a moment, and getting rid of
some of their ballast, in order to clear the steeples and other lofty
objects which appeared to lie in their route. The balloon, thus
lightened, rose above the grosser part of the atmosphere, but with
such little velocity as to afford the most gratifying spectacle to an
immense number of spectators.

While following it with my eyes, I began to draw comparisons in my
mind, and reflect on the rapid improvement made in these machines,
since I had seen Blanchard and his friend, Dr. Jefferies, leave Dover
Cliff in January 1785. They landed safely within a short distance of
Calais, as every one knows: yet few persons then conceived it
possible, or at least probable, that balloons could ever be applied
to any useful purpose, still less to the art of war. We find,
however, that at the battle of Fleurus, where the Austrians were
defeated, Jourdan, the French General, was not a little indebted for
his victory to the intelligence given him of the enemy's dispositions
by his aeronautic reconnoitring-party.

The sagacious Franklin seems to have had a presentiment of the future
utility of this invention. On the first experiments being made of it,
some one asked him: "Of what use are balloons?"--"Of what use is a
new-born child!" was the philosopher's answer.

Garnerin and his fellow-travellers being now at such a distance as
not to interest an observer unprovided with a telespope, I thought it
most prudent to gratify that ever-returning desire, which, according
to Dr. Johnson, excites once a day a serious idea in the mind even of
the most thoughtless. I accordingly retired to my own apartments,
where I had taken care that dinner should be provided for myself and
a friend, who, assenting to the propriety of allowing every man the
indulgence of his own caprice, had, like me, been taking a stroll
alone among the innumerable multitude of Paris.

After dinner, my friend and I sat chatting over our dessert, in order
that we might not arrive too soon at the scene of action. At six,
however, we rose from table, and separated. I immediately proceeded
to the _Tuileries_, which I entered by the centre gate of the _Place
du Carrousel_. The whole facade of the palace, from the base of the
lowest pillars up to the very turrets of the pavilions, comprising
the entablatures, &c. was decorated with thousands of _lampions_,
whence issued a steady, glaring light. By way of parenthesis, I must
inform you that these _lampions_ are nothing more than little
circular earthen pans, somewhat resembling those which are used in
England as receptacles for small flower-pots. They are not filled
with oil, but with a substance prepared from the offals of oxen and
in which a thick wick is previously placed. Although the body of
light proceeding from _lampions_ of this description braves the
weather, yet the smoke which they produce, is no inconsiderable
drawback on the effect of their splendour.

Nothing could exceed the brilliancy of the _coup d'oeil_ from the
vestibule of the palace of the _Tuileries_. The grand alley, as well
as the end of the parterre on each side and the edges of the basins,
was illuminated in a style equally tasteful and splendid. The
frame-work on which the lamps were disposed by millions, represented
lofty arcades of elegant proportion, with their several pillars,
cornices, and other suitable ornaments. The eye, astonished, though
not dazzled, penetrated through the garden, and, directed by this
avenue of light, embraced a view of the temporary obelisk erected
on the ridge of the gradual ascent, where stands the _Barriere de
Chaillot_; the road on each side of the _Champs Elysees_ presenting
an illuminated perspective, whose vanishing point was the obelisk
before-mentioned.

After loitering a short time to contemplate the west facade of the
palace, which, excelling that of the east in the richness of its
architecture, also excelled it in the splendour of its illuminations,
I advanced along the centre or grand alley to the _Place de la
Concorde_. Here, rose three _Temples_ of correct design and beautiful
symmetry, the most spacious of which, placed in the centre, was
dedicated to _Peace_, that on the right hand to the _Arts_, and that
on the left to _Industry_.

In front of these temples, was erected an extensive platform, about
five feet above the level of the ground, on which was exhibited a
pantomime, representing, as I was informed, the horrors of war
succeeded by the blessings of peace. Though I arrived in time to have
seen at least a part of it, I saw nothing, except the back of the
spectators immediately before me, and others, mounted on chairs and
benches, some of whom seemed to consider themselves fortunate if they
recovered their legs, when they came now and then to the ground, by
losing their equilibrium. These little accidents diverted me for the
moment; but a misadventure of a truly-comic nature afforded me more
entertainment than any pantomime I ever beheld, and amply consoled me
for being thus confined to the back-ground.

A lusty young Frenchman, who, from his head-dress _a la Titus_, I
shall distinguish by that name, escorting a lady whom, on account of
her beautiful hair, I shall style _Berenice_, stood on one of the
hindmost benches. The belle, habited in a tunic _a la Grecque_, with
a species of sandals which displayed the elegant form of her leg, was
unfortunately not of a stature sufficiently commanding to see over
the heads of the other spectators. It was to no purpose that the
gentleman called out "_a bas les chapeaux!_" When the hats were off,
the lady still saw no better. What will not gallantry suggest to a
man of fashionable education? Our considerate youth perceived, at no
great distance, some persons standing on a plank supported by a
couple of casks. Confiding the fair _Berenice_ to my care, he
vanished: but, almost in an, instant, he reappeared, followed by two
men, bearing an empty hogshead, which, it seems, he procured from the
tavern at the west entrance of the _Tuileries_. To place the cask
near the feet of the lady, pay for it, and fix her on it, was the
business of a moment. Here then she was, like a statue on its
pedestal, enjoying the double gratification of seeing and being seen.
But, for enjoyment to be complete, we must share it with those we
love. On examining the space where she stood, the lady saw there was
room for two, and accordingly invited the gentleman to place himself
beside her. In vain he resisted her entreaties; in vain he feared to
incommode her. She commanded; he could do no less than obey. Stepping
up on the bench, he thence nimbly sprang to the cask; but, O! fatal
catastrophe! while, by the light of the neighbouring clusters of
lamps, every one around was admiring the mutual attention of this
sympathizing pair, in went the head of the hogshead.

Our till-then-envied couple fell suddenly up to the middle of the leg
in the wine-lees left in the cask, by which they were bespattered up
to their very eyes. Nor was this all: being too eager to extricate
themselves, they overset the cask, and came to the ground, rolling in
it and its offensive contents. It would be no easy matter to picture
the ludicrous situation of Citizen _Titus_ and Madame _Berenice_.
This being the only mischief resulting from their fall, a universal
burst of laughter seized the surrounding spectators, in which I took
so considerable a share, that I could not immediately afford my
assistance.



LETTER XV.

_Paris, November 11, 1801._

What fortunate people are the Parisians! Yesterday evening so thick a
fog came on, all at once, that it was almost impossible to discern
the lamps in the streets, even when they were directly over-head. Had
the fog occurred twenty-four hours earlier, the effect of the
illuminations would have been entirely lost; and the blind would have
had the advantage over the clear-sighted. This assertion experience
has proved: for, some years ago, when there was, for several
successive days, a duration of such fogs in Paris, it was found
necessary, by persons who had business to transact out of doors, to
hire the blind men belonging to the hospital of the _Quinze-Vingts_,
to lead them about the streets. These guides, who were well
acquainted with the topography of the capital, were paid by the hour,
and sometimes, in the course of the day, each of them cleared five
louis.

Last night, persons in carriages, were compelled to alight, and grope
their way home as they could: in this manner, after first carefully
ascertaining where I was, and keeping quite close to the wall, I
reached my lodgings in safety, in spite of numberless interrogations
put to me by people who had, or pretended to have, lost themselves.

When I was interrupted in my account of the _fete_, we were, if I
mistake not, on the _Place de la Concorde_.

Notwithstanding the many loads of small gravel scattered here, with a
view of keeping the place clean, the quantity of mud collected in the
space of a few hours was really astonishing. _N'importe_ was the
word. No fine lady, by whatever motive she was attracted hither,
regretted at the moment being up to her ankles in dirt, or having the
skirt of her dress bemired. All was busy curiosity, governed by
peaceable order.

For my part, I never experienced the smallest uncomfortable squeeze,
except, indeed, at the conclusion of the pantomime, when the
impatient crowd rushed forward, and, regardless of the fixed bayonets
of the guards in possession of the platform, carried it by storm.
Impelled by the torrent, I fortunately happened to be nearly in front
of the steps, and, in a few seconds, I found, myself safely landed on
the platform.

The guard now receiving a seasonable reinforcement, order was
presently restored without bloodshed; and, though several persons
were under the necessity of making a retrograde movement, on my
declaring that I was an Englishman, I was suffered to retain my
elevated position, till the musicians composing the orchestras,
appropriated to each of the three temples, had taken their stations.
Admittance then became general, and the temples were presently so
crowded that the dancers had much difficulty to find room to perform
the figures.

Good-humour and decorum, however, prevailed to such a degree that,
during the number, of hours I mixed in the crowd, I witnessed not the
smallest disturbance.

Between nine and ten o'clock, I went to the _Pont de la Concorde_ to
view the fireworks played off from the _Temple of Commerce_ on the
river; but these were, as I understand, of a description far inferior
to those exhibited at the last National Fete of the 14th of July, the
anniversary of the taking of the Bastille.

This inferiority is attributed to the precaution dictated, by the
higher authorities, to the authors of the fireworks to limit their
ingenuity; as, on the former occasion, some accidents occurred of a
rather serious nature. The spectators, in general, appeared to me to
be disappointed by the mediocrity of the present exhibition.

I was compensated for the disappointment by the effect of the
illumination of the quays, which, being faced with stone, form a
lofty rampart on each embankment of the river. These were decorated
with several tiers of lamps from the top of the parapet to the
water's edge; the parapets and cornices of the bridges, together with
the circumference of the arches, were likewise illuminated, as well
as the gallery of the _Louvre_, and the stately buildings adjoining
the quays.

The palace of the Legislative Body, which faces the south end of the
_Pont de la Concorde_, formed a striking object, being adorned, in a
magnificent style, with variegated lamps and transparencies. No less
splendid, and in some respects more so, from the extent that it
presented, was the facade of the _ci-devant Garde-Meuble_, and the
corresponding buildings, which form the north side of the _Place de
la Concorde_, whither I now returned.

The effect of the latter was beautiful, as you may judge from the
description which I have already given you of this facade, in one of
my preceding letters. Let it suffice then to say, that, from the base
of the lower pillars to the upper cornice, it was covered with lamps
so arranged as to exhibit, in the most brilliant manner, the style
and richness of its architecture.

The crowd, having now been attracted in various directions, became
more penetrable; and, in regaining the platform on the _Place de la
Concorde_, I had a full view of the turrets, battlements, &c. erected
behind the three temples, in which the skilful machinist had so
combined his plan, by introducing into it a sight of the famous
horses brought from _Marly_, and now occupying the entrance of the
_Champs Elysees_, that these beautiful marble representations of that
noble animal seemed placed here on purpose to embellish his scenery.

Finding myself chilled by standing so many hours exposed to the
dampness of a November night, I returned to the warmer atmosphere of
the temples, in order to take a farewell view of the dancers. The
scene was truly picturesque, the male part of the groups being
chiefly composed of journeymen of various trades, and the females
consisting of a ludicrous medley of all classes; but it required no
extraordinary penetration to perceive, that, with the exception of a
few particular attachments, the military bore the bell, and, all
things considered, this was no more than justice. Independently of
being the best dancers, after gaining the laurels of victory in the
hard-fought field, who can deny that they deserved the prize of
beauty?

The dancing was kept up with the never-flagging vivacity peculiar to
this nation, and, as I conclude, so continued till a very late hour
in the morning. At half past eleven I withdrew, with a friend whom I
chanced to meet, to Very's, the famous _restaurateur's_ in the
_Tuileries_, where we supped. On comparing notes, I found that I had
been more fortunate than he, in beholding to advantage all the sights
of the day: though it was meant to be a day of jubilee, yet it was
far from being productive of that mirth or gaiety which I expected.
The excessive dearness of a few articles of the first necessity may,
probably, be one cause of this gloom among the people. Bread, the
staff of life, (as it may be justly termed in France, where a much
greater proportion is, in general, consumed than in any other
country,) is now at the enormous price of eighteen _sous_ (nine-pence
sterling) for the loaf of four pounds. Besides, the Parisians have
gone through so much during the revolution, that I apprehend they
are, to a certain degree, become callous to the spontaneous
sensations of joy and pleasure. Be the cause what it may, I am
positively assured that the people expressed not so much hilarity at
this fete as at the last, I mean that of the 14th of July.

In my way home, I remarked that few houses were illuminated, except
those of the rich in the streets which are great thorough-fares.
People here, in general, I suppose, consider themselves dispensed
from lighting up their private residence from the consideration that
they collectively contribute to the public illumination, the expenses
of which are defrayed by the government out of the national coffers.

Several songs have been composed and published in commemoration of
this joyful event. Among those that have fallen under my notice, I
have selected the following, of which our friend M---s, with his
usual facility and taste, will, I dare say, furnish you an imitation.

  CHANT D'ALLEGRESSE,

  _Pour la paix._

  Air: _de la Marche Triomphante_.

  _"Reviens pour consoler la terre,
    Aimable Paix, descends des cieux,
  Depuis assez long-tems la guerre
    Afflige un peuple genereux,
  Ah! quell' aurore pure & calme
    S'offre a nos regards satisfaits!
  Nous obtenons la double paline
    De la victoire & de la paix._   bis.

  _"Disparaissez tristes images,
    D'un tems malheureux qui n'est plus,
  Nous reparerons nos dommages
    Par la sagesse & les vertus.
  Que la paix enfin nous rallie!
    Plus d'ingrats ni de mecontens,
  O triomphe de la patrie!
    Plus de Francais indifferens._   bis.

  _"Revenez phalanges guerrieres,
    Heros vengeurs de mon pays,
  Au sein d'une epouse, d'un pere,
    De vos parens, de vos amis,
  Revenez dans votre patrie
    Apres tant d'effrayans hazards,
  Trouver ce qui charme la vie,
     L'amitie, l'amour, et les arts._   bis.

  _"Oh! vous qui, sous des catacombes,
    Etes couches au champ d'honneur,
  Nos yeux sont fixes sur vos tombes,
    En chantant l'hymne du vainqueur,
  Nous transmettrons votre memoire
    Jusqu' aux siecles a venir,
  Avec le burin de l'histoire,
    Et les larmes du souvenir."_   bis.


  SONG OF JOY,

  _In honor of peace._
  Imitated from the French.

  To the same tune: _de la Marche Triomphante._

  Come, lovely Peace, from heav'n descending,
    Thy presence earth at length shall grace;
  Those terrible afflictions ending,
    That long have griev'd a gen'rous race:
  We see Aurora rise refulgent;
    Serene she comes to bless our sight;
  While Fortune to our hopes indulgent,
    Bids victory and peace unite.

  Be gone, ye dark imaginations,
    Remembrances of horrors past:
  Virtue's and Wisdom's reparations
    Shall soon be made, and ever last.
  Now peace to happiness invites us;
    The bliss of peace is understood:
  With love fraternal peace delights us,
    Our private ease, and country's good.

  Re-enter, sons of war, your houses;
    Heroic deeds for peace resign:
  Embrace your parents and your spouses,
    And all to whom your hearts incline:
  Behold your countrymen invite you,
    With open, arms, with open hearts;
  Here find whatever can delight you;
    Here friendship, love, and lib'ral arts.

  Departed heroes, crown'd with glory,
    While you are laid in Honour's bed,
  Sad o'er your tombs we'll sing the story,
    How Gallia's warriors fought and bled:
  And, proud to shew to future ages
    The claims to patriot valour due,
  We'll vaunt, in our historic pages,
    The debt immense we owe to you.



LETTER XVI.

_Paris, November 13, 1801._

Enriched, as this capital now is, with the spoils of Greece and
Italy, it may literally be termed the repository of the greatest
curiosities existing. In the CENTRAL MUSEUM are collected all the
prodigies of the fine arts, and, day after day, you may enjoy the
sight of these wonders.

I know not whether you are satisfied with the abridged account I gave
you of the GALLERY OF ANTIQUES; but, on the presumption that you did
not expect from me a description of every work of sculpture contained
in it, I called your attention to the most pre-eminent only; and I
shall now pursue the same plan, respecting the master-pieces of
painting exhibited in the great

GALLERY OF THE LOUVRE

This gallery, which is thirteen hundred and sixty-five feet in length
by thirty in breadth, runs north and south all along the quays of the
river Seine, and joins the _Louvre_ to the palace of the _Tuileries_.
It was begun by Charles IX, carried as far as the first wicket by
Henry IV, to the second by Lewis XIII, and terminated by Lewis XIV.
One half, beginning from a narrow strip of ground, called the _Jardin
de l'Infante_, is decorated externally with large pilasters of the
Composite order, which run from top to bottom, and with pediments
alternately triangular and elliptical, the tympanums of which, both
on the side of the _Louvre_, and towards the river, are charged with
emblems of the Arts and Sciences. The other part is ornamented with
coupled pilasters, charged with vermiculated rustics, and other
embellishments of highly-finished workmanship.

In the inside of this gallery are disposed the _chefs d'oeuvre_ of
all the great masters of the Italian, Flemish, and French schools.
The pictures, particularly the historical ones, are hung according to
the chronological order of the painters' birth, in different
compartments, the number of which, at the present period, amounts to
fifty-seven; and the productions of each school and of each master
are as much as possible assembled; a method which affords the
advantage of easily comparing one school to another, one master to
another, and a master to himself. If the chronology of past ages be
considered as a book from which instruction is to be imbibed, the
propriety of such a classification requires no eulogium. From the
pictures being arranged chronologically, the GALLERY OF THE LOUVRE
becomes a sort of dictionary, in which may be traced every degree of
improvement or decline that the art of painting has successively
experienced.

The entrance to the great GALLERY OF PAINTINGS is precisely the same
as that to the GALLERY OF ANTIQUES. After ascending a noble stone
stair-case, and turning to the left, you reach the

SALOON OF THE LOUVRE.

This apartment, which serves as a sort of antichamber to the great
Gallery, is, at the present moment, appropriated to the annual
monthly exhibition of the productions of living painters, sculptors,
architects, engravers, and draughtsmen. Of these modern works, I
shall, perhaps, speak on a future occasion. But, in the course of a
few days, they will give place to several master-pieces of the
Italian School, some of which were under indispensable repair, when
the others were arranged in the great Gallery.

It would be no easy task to express the various sentiments which take
possession of the mind of the lover of the arts, when, for the first
time, he enters this splendid repository. By frequent visits,
however, the imagination becomes somewhat less distracted, and the
judgment, by degrees, begins to collect itself. Although I am not,
like you, conversant in the Fine Arts, would you tax me with
arrogance, were I to presume to pass an opinion on some of the
pictures comprised in this matchless collection?

Painting being a representation of nature, every spectator, according
to the justness of his ideas, may form an opinion how far the
representation is happily pourtrayed, and in beholding it, experience
a proportionate degree of pleasure: but how different the sensations
of him who, combining all the requisites of a connoisseur,
contemplates the composition of a masterly genius! In tracing the
merits of such a production, his admiration gradually becomes
inflamed, as his eye strays from beauty to beauty.

In painting or sculpture, beauty, as you well know, is either
natural, or generally admitted: the latter depends on the perfection
of the performance, on certain rules established, and principles
settled. This is what is termed _ideal_ beauty, which is frequently
not within the reach of the vulgar; and the merit of which may be
lost on him who has not learned to know and appreciate it. Thus, one
of the finest pictures, ever conceived and executed by man, might
not, perhaps, make an impression on many spectators. Natural beauty,
on the contrary, is a true imitation of nature: its effect is
striking and general, so that it stands not in need of being pointed
out, but is felt and admired by all.

Notwithstanding this truth, be assured that I should never, of my own
accord, have ventured to pronounce on the various degrees of merit of
so many _chefs d'oeuvre_, which all at once solicit attention. This
would require a depth of knowledge, a superiority of judgment, a
nicety of discrimination, a fund of taste, a maturity of experience,
to none of which have I any pretension. The greatest masters, who
have excelled in a particular branch, have sometimes given to the
world indifferent productions; while artists of moderate abilities
have sometimes produced master-pieces far above their general
standard. In a picture, which may, on the whole, merit the
appellation of a _chef d'oeuvre_, are sometimes to be found beauties
which render it superior, negligences which border on the
indifferent, and defects which constitute the bad. Genius has its
flights and deviations; talent, its successes, attempts, and faults;
and mediocrity even, its flashes and chances.

Whatever some persons may affect, a true knowledge of the art of
painting is by no means an easy acquirement; it is not a natural
gift, but demands much reading and study. Many there are, no doubt,
who may be able to descant speciously enough, perhaps, on the
perfections and defects of a picture; but, on that account alone,
they are not to be regarded as real judges of its intrinsic merit.

Know then, that, in selecting the most remarkable productions among
the vast number exhibited in the CENTRAL MUSEUM, I have had the good
fortune to be directed by the same first-rate connoisseur who was so
obliging as to fix my choice in the GALLERY OF ANTIQUES. I mean M.
VISCONTI.

Not confining myself either to alphabetical or chronological order, I
shall proceed to point out to you such pictures of each school as
claim particular notice.


ITALIAN SCHOOL.

N. B. _Those pictures to which no number is prefixed, are not yet
publicly exhibited_.


RAFFAELLO.

  N deg. 55. (Saloon.) _The Virgin and Child, &c._ commonly known by the
name of the _Madonna di Foligno_.

This is one of the master-pieces of RAPHAEL for vigour of colouring,
and for the beauty of the heads and of the child. It is in his second
manner; although his third is more perfect, seldom are the pictures
of this last period entirely executed by himself. This picture was
originally painted on pannel, and was in such a lamentable state of
decay, that doubts arose whether it could safely be conveyed from
Italy. It has been recently transferred to canvass, and now appears
as fresh and as vivid, as if, instead of a lapse of three centuries,
three years only had passed since it was painted. Never was an
operation of the like nature performed in so masterly a manner. The
process was attended by a Committee of the National Institute,
appointed at the particular request of the Administration of the
Museum. The _Madonna di Foligno_ is to be engraved from a drawing
taken by that able draughtsman DU TERTRE.

  N deg. ( ) _The Holy Family_.

This valuable picture of RAPHAEL'S third manner is one of the most
perfect that ever came from his pencil. It belonged to the old
collection of the crown, and is engraved by EDELINCK. Although
superior to the _Madonna di Foligno_ as to style and composition, it
is inferior in the representation of the child, and in vigour of
colouring.

  N deg. ( ) _The Transfiguration of Christ on Mount Tabor._

This is the last production of RAPHAEL, and his most admirable _chef
d'oeuvre_ as to composition and grace of the contours in all its
figures. It is not yet exhibited, but will be shortly. This picture
is in perfect preservation, and requires only to be cleaned from a
coat of dust and smoke which has been accumulating on it for three
centuries, during which it graced the great altar of St. Peter's
church at Rome.

Among the portraits by RAPHAEL, the most surprising are:

N deg. 58. (Saloon.) _Baltazzare Castiglione_, a celebrated writer in
Italian and Latin.

  N deg. ( ) _Leo X._

Every thing that RAPHAEL'S pencil has produced is in the first order.
That master has something greatly superior in his manner: he really
appears as a god among painters. Addison seems to have been impressed
with the truth of this sentiment, when he thus expresses himself:

  "Fain would I RAPHAEL'S godlike art rehearse,
  And shew th' immortal labours in my verse,
  When from the mingled strength of shade and light,
  A new creation rises, to my sight:
  Such heav'nly figures from his pencil flow,
  So warm with life his blended colours glow,
  From theme to theme with secret pleasure lost,
  Amidst the soft variety I'm lost."


LEONARDO DA VINCI.

There are several pictures by this master in the present exhibition;
but you may look here in vain for the portrait of _La Gioconda_,
which he employed four years in painting, and in which he has
imitated nature so closely, that, as a well-known author has
observed, "the eyes have all the lustre of life, the hairs of the eye
brows and lids seem real, and even the pores of the skin are
perceptible."

This celebrated picture is now removed to the palace of the
_Tuileries_; but the following one, which remains, is an admirable
performance.

  N deg. ( ) _Portrait of Charles VIII._


FRA BARTOLOMEO.

  N deg. 28. (Saloon.) _St. Mark the Evangelist_.

  N deg. 29. (Saloon.) _The Saviour of the world_.

These two pictures, which were in the _Pitti_ palace at Florence,
give the idea of the most noble simplicity, and of no common taste in
the distribution of the lights and shades.


GIULIO ROMANO.

  N deg. 35. (Saloon.) _The Circumcision_.

This picture belonged to the old collection of the crown. The figures
in it are about a foot and a half in height. It is a real _chef
d'oeuvre_, and has all the grace of the antique bas-reliefs.


TIZIANO.

  N deg. 69. (Saloon.) _The Martyrdom of St. Peter_.

This large picture, which presents a grand composition in colossal
figures, with a country of extraordinary beauty in the back-ground,
is considered as the _chef d'oeuvre_ of TITIAN. It was painted on
pannel; but, having undergone the same operation as the _Madonna di
Foligno_, is now placed on canvass, and is in such a state as to
claim the admiration of succeeding ages.

  N deg. 74. (Saloon.) _The Portraits of Titian and his mistress._

     70. (Saloon.) _Portrait of the Marquis del Guasto with some
ladies_.

Both these pictures belonged to the old collection of the crown, and
are to be admired for grace and beauty.

  N deg. 940. (Gallery.) _Christ crowned with thorns_.

     941. (Gallery.) _Christ carried to the grave_.

There is a wonderful vigour of colouring in these two capital
pictures.

The preceding are the most admirable of the productions which are at
present exhibited of this inimitable master, the first of painters
for truth of colouring.


CORREGGIO.

  N deg. 753. (Gallery.) _The Virgin, the infant Jesus, Mary Magdalen,
and St. Jerome._

This picture, commonly distinguished by the appellation of the _St.
Jerome_ of CORREGGIO, is undoubtedly his _chef d'oeuvre_. In the year
1749, the king of Portugal is said to have offered for it a sum equal
in value to L18,000 sterling.

  N deg. 756. (Gallery.) _The Marriage of St. Catherine_.

     757. (Gallery.) _Christ taken down from the cross_.

This last-mentioned picture has just been engraved in an excellent
manner by an Italian artist, M. ROSA-SPINA.

The grace of his pencil and his _chiaro oscuro_ place CORREGGIO in
the first class of painters, where he ranks the third after RAPHAEL
and TITIAN. He is inferior to them in design and composition; however
the scarceness of his pictures frequently gives them a superior
value. Poor CORREGGIO! It grieves one to recollect that he lost his
life, in consequence of the fatigue of staggering home under a load
of _copper_ coin, which avaricious monks had given him for pictures
now become so valuable that they are not to be purchased for their
weight, even in _gold_.

No collection is so rich in pictures of CORREGGIO as that of the
CENTRAL MUSEUM.


PAOLO VERONESE.

  N deg. 44. (Saloon.) _The Wedding at Cana_.

     45. (Saloon.) _The Repast at the house of Levi_.

     51. (Saloon.) _The Pilgrims of Emmaues_.

These are astonishing compositions for their vast extent, the number
and beauty of the figures and portraits, and the variety and truth of
the colouring. Nothing in painting can be richer.


ANDREA DEL SARTO.

  N deg. 4. (Saloon.) _Christ taken down from the cross_.


ANDREA SQUAZZELLI (his pupil.)

  N deg. (    ) _Christ laid in the tomb_.

This capital picture is not in the catalogue.


GIORGIONE DEL CASTEL-FRANCO.

  N deg. 32. (Saloon.) _A Concert containing three portraits_.

This master-piece is worthy of TITIAN.


GUERCINO.

  N deg. 33 (Saloon.) _St. Petronilla_.

This large picture was executed for St. Peter's church in the
Vatican, where it was replaced by a copy in Mosaic, on being removed
to the pontificate palace of Monte Cavallo, at Rome.

In the great Gallery are exhibited no less than twenty-three pictures
by GUERCINO: but to speak the truth, though, in looking at some of
his productions, he appears an extremely agreeable painter, as soon
as you see a number of them, you can no longer bear him. This is what
happens to _mannerists_. The dark shades at first astonish you,
afterwards they disgust you.


ANDREA SACCHI.

  N deg. 65. (Saloon.) _St. Remuald_.

This picture was always one of the most esteemed of those in the
churches at Rome. It was the altar-piece of the church of St. Remuald
in that city.


ALBANO.

  N deg. 676. (Gallery.) _Fire._

     677. _Air._

     678. _Water._

     679. _Earth._

In the Gallery are twenty-nine pictures of this master, and all of
them graceful; but the preceding four, representing the elements,
which were taken from the royal Cabinet of Turin, are the most
remarkable.


BAROCCIO.

  N deg. 686. (Gallery.) _The Virgin, St Anthony, and St. Lucia._

     688. _St. Michaelina._

These are the best pictures of BAROCCIO already exhibited. His
colouring is enchanting. It is entirely transparent and seems as if
impregnated with light: however, his forms, and every thing else,
bespeak the _mannerist_.


ANNIBALE CARRACCI.

  N deg. 721. (Gallery.) _Christ dead on the knees of the Virgin._

     723. _The Resurrection of Christ._

     728. _The Nativity of Christ._

     730. _Christ laid in the tomb._

Of the CARRACCI, ANNIBALE is the most perfect. He is also remarkable
for the different manners which he has displayed in his works. They
appear to be by two or three different painters. Of more than twenty
in the Gallery, the above are the best of his productions.


MICHAEL ANGELO DA CARAVAGGIO.

  N deg. 744. (Gallery.) _Christ laid in the tomb._

This wonderful picture, which was brought from Rome, is, for vigour
of execution and truth of colouring, superior to all the others by
the same master. Every one of his works bears the stamp of a great
genius.


DOMENICHINO.

  N deg. 763. (Gallery.) _The Communion of St. Jerome._

This picture, the master-piece of DOMENICHICO, comes from the great
altar of the church of _San Geronimo della Carita_, at Rome. It will
appear incredible that for a work of such importance, which cost him
so much time, study, and labour, he received no more than the sum of
about L10 sterling.

  N deg. 769. (Gallery.) _St. Cecilia_.

This capital performance is now removed to the drawing-room of the
First Consul, in the palace of the _Tuileries_.

After RAPHAEL, DOMENICHINO is one of the most perfect masters; and
his _St. Jerome_, together with RAPHAEL'S Transfiguration, are
reckoned among the most famous _chefs d'oeuvre_ of the art of
painting.


GUIDO.

  N deg. 797. (Gallery.) _The Crucifixion of St. Peter_.

     800. _Fortune_.

These are the finest of the twenty pictures by that master, now
exhibited in the CENTRAL MUSEUM. They both came from Rome; the
former, from the Vatican; the latter, from the Capitol.

GUIDO is a noble and graceful painter; but, in general, he betrays a
certain negligence in the execution of several parts.


LUINI.

  N deg. 860. (Gallery.) _The Holy Family_.


In this picture, LUINI has fallen little short of his master,
LEONARDO DA VINCI.


ANDREA SOLARIO.

  N deg. 896. (Gallery.) _The Daughter of Herodias receiving the head of
St. John_.

SOLARIO is another worthy pupil of LEONARDO. This very capital
picture belonged to the collection of the crown, and was purchased by
Lewis XIV.


PIERUNO DEL VAGA.

  N deg. 928. (Gallery.) _The Muses challenged by the Pierides_.

An excellent picture from Versailles.


BALTASSARE PERUZZI.

  N deg. 929. (Gallery.) _The Virgin discovering the infant Jesus
asleep_.

A remarkably fine production.


SEBASTIANO DEL PIOMBO.

  N deg. ( ) _Portrait of the young sculptor, Baccio Bomdinelli_.

This picture is worthy of the pencil of RAPHAEL. It is not yet
exhibited.


PIETRO DA CORTONA.

  N deg. 52. (Saloon.) _The Birth of the Virgin_.

     53. _Remus and Romulus_.

These are the finest pictures in the collection by this master.

We have now noticed the best productions of the Italian School: in
our next visit to the CENTRAL MUSEUM, I shall point out the most
distinguished pictures of the French and Flemish Schools.

P. S. Lord Cornwallis is sumptuously entertained here, all the
ministers giving him a grand dinner, each in rotation. After having
viewed the curiosities of Paris, he will, in about a fortnight,
proceed to the congress at Amiens. On his Lordship's arrival, I
thought it my duty to leave my name at his hotel, and was most
agreeably surprised to meet with a very old acquaintance in his
military Secretary, Lieut. Col. L--------s. For any of the
ambassador's further proceedings, I refer you to the English
newspapers, which seem to anticipate all his movements.



LETTER XVII.

_Paris, November 15, 1801._

The more frequently I visit the CENTRAL MUSEUM OF THE ARTS, the more
am I inclined to think that such a vast number of pictures, suspended
together, lessen each other's effect. This is the first idea which
now presents itself to me, whenever I enter the

GALLERY OF THE LOUVRE.

Were this collection rendered apparently less numerous by being
subdivided into different apartments, the eye would certainly be less
dazzled than it is, at present, by an assemblage of so many various
objects, which, though arranged as judiciously as possible, somehow
convey to the mind an image of confusion. The consequence is that
attention flags, and no single picture is seen to advantage, because
so many are seen together.

In proportion as the lover of the arts becomes more familiarized with
the choicest productions of the pencil, he perceives that there are
few pictures, if any, really faultless. In some, he finds beauties,
which are general, or forming, as it were, a whole, and producing a
general effect; in others, he meets with particular or detached
beauties, whose effect is partial: assembled, they constitute the
beautiful: insulated, they have a merit which the amateur
appreciates, and the artist ought to study. General or congregated
beauties always arise from genius and talent: particular or detached
beauties belong to study, to labour, that is, to the _nulla die sine
linea_ and sometimes solely to chance, as is exemplified in the old
story of Protogenes, the celebrated Rhodian painter.


To discover some of these beauties, requires no extraordinary
discernment; a person of common observation might decide whether the
froth at the mouth of an animal, panting for breath, was naturally
represented: but a spectator, possessing a cultivated and refined
taste, minutely surveys every part of a picture, examines the
grandeur of the composition, the elevation of the ideas, the
nobleness of the expression, the truth and correctness of the design,
the grace scattered over the different objects, the imitation of
nature in the colouring, and the masterly strokes of the pencil.

Our last visit to the CENTRAL MUSEUM terminated with the Italian
School; let us now continue our examination, beginning with the

FRENCH SCHOOL.


LE BRUN.

  N deg. 17. _(Gallery) The Defeat of Porus._

     18. _The Family of Darius at the feet of Alexander._

     19. _The Entrance of Alexander into Babylon.
         The Passage of the Granicus._

     14. _Jesus asleep, or Silence._

     16. _The Crucifix surrounded by angels._

The compositions of LE BRUN are grand and rich; his costume
well-chosen, and tolerably scientific; the tone of his pictures
well-suited to the subject. But, in this master, we must not look
for purity and correctness of drawing, in an eminent degree. He much
resembles PIETRO DA CORTONA. LE BRUN, however, has a taste more in
the style of RAPHAEL and the antique, though it is a distant
imitation. The colouring of PIETRO DA CORTONA is far more agreeable
and more captivating.

Among the small pictures by LE BRUN, N deg.s. 14 and 16 deserve to be
distinguished; but his _chefs d'oeuvre_ are the achievements of
Alexander. When the plates from these historical paintings, engraved
by AUDRAN, reached Rome, it is related that the Italians, astonished,
exclaimed: "_Povero Raffaello! non sei piu il primo_." But, when they
afterwards saw the originals, they restored, to RAPHAEL his former
pre-eminence.


CLAUDE LORRAIN.

  N deg. 43. (Gallery.) _View of a sea-port at sun-set_.

     45. _A Sea-piece on a fine morning_.

     46. _A Landscape enlivened by the setting sun_.

The superior merit of CLAUDE in landscape-painting is too well known
to need any eulogium, The three preceding are the finest of his
pictures in this collection. However, at Rome, and in England, there
are some more perfect than those in the CENTRAL MUSEUM. One of his
_chefs d'oeuvre_, formerly at Rome, is now at Naples, in the Gallery
of Prince Colonna.


JOUVENET.

  N deg. 54. (Gallery.) _Christ taken down from the cross._

The above is the most remarkable picture here by this master.


MIGNARD.

  N deg. 57. (Gallery.) _The Virgin_, called _La Vierge a
    la grappe_, because she is taking from a basket of
    fruit a bunch of grapes to present to her son.


NICOLAS POUSSIN.

  N deg. 70. (Gallery.) _The Fall of the manna in the desert._

     75. _Rebecca and Eleazar._

     77. _The Judgment of Solomon._

     78. _The blind Men of Jericho._

     82. _Winter or the Deluge._

In this collection, the above are the finest historical paintings of
POUSSIN; and of his landscapes, the following deserve to be admired.

  N deg. 76. (Gallery.) _Diogenes throwing away his porringer._

     83. _The Death of Eurydice._

POUSSIN is the greatest painter of the French school. His
compositions bear much resemblance to those of RAPHAEL, and to the
antique: though they have not the same _naivete_ and truth. His
back-grounds are incomparable; his landscapes, in point of
composition, superior even to those of CLAUDE. His large altar-pieces
are the least beautiful of his productions. His feeble colouring
cannot support proportions of the natural size: in these pictures,
the charms of the background are also wanting.


LE SUEUR.

  N deg. 98. (Gallery.) _St. Paul preaching at Ephesus._

This is the _chef d'oeuvre_ of LE SUEUR, who is to be admired for the
simplicity of his pencil, as well as for the beauty of his
compositions.


VALENTINO.

  N deg. 111. (Gallery.) _The Martyrdom of St. Processa and St.
Martinian._

     112. _Caesar's Tribute._

These are the finest productions of this master, who was a worthy
rival of CARAVAGGIO.


VERNET.

  N deg. 121. (Gallery.) _A Sea-port at sun-set_.

This painter's style is generally correct and agreeable. In the above
picture he rivals CLAUDE.

       *       *       *       *       *

We now come to the school which, of all others, is best known in
England. This exempts me from making any observations on the
comparative merits of the masters who compose it. I shall therefore
confine myself to a bare mention of the best of their performances,
at present exhibited in the CENTRAL MUSEUM.


FLEMISH SCHOOL.


RUBENS.

  N deg. 485. (Gallery.) _St. Francis, dying, receives the sacrament._

     503. _Christ taken down from the cross_, a celebrated picture
from the cathedral of Antwerp.

     507. _Nicholas Rochox, a burgomaster of the city of Antwerp, and
a friend of_ RUBENS.

     509. _The Crucifixion of St. Peter_.

     513. _St. Roch interceding for the people attacked by the
plague._

     526. _The Village-Festival_.

In this repository, the above are the most remarkable productions of
RUBENS.


VANDYCK.

  N deg. 255. (Gallery.) _The Mother of pity._

     264. _The portraits of Charles I, elector palatine, and his
brother, prince Robert._

     265. _A full-length portrait of a man holding his daughter by
the hand._

     266. _A full-length portrait of a lady with her son._

These are superior to the other pictures by VANDYCK in this
collection.


CHAMPAGNE.

  N deg. 216. (Gallery.) _The Nuns._

The history of this piece is interesting. The eldest daughter of
CHAMPAGNE was a nun in the convent of _Port-Royal_ at Paris. Being
reduced to extremity by a fever of fourteen months' duration, and
given over by her physicians, she falls to prayers with another nun,
and recovers her health.


CRAYER.

  N deg. 227. (Gallery.) _The Triumph of St. Catherine._


GERHARD DOUW.

  N deg. 234. (Gallery.) _The dropsical Woman._


HANS HOLBEIN.

  N deg. 319. (Gallery.) _A young woman, dressed in a yellow veil, and
with her hands crossed on her knees._


JORDAENS.

  N deg. 351. (Gallery.) _Twelfth-Day_.

     352. _The Family-Concert_.


ADRIAN VAN OSTADE.

  N deg. 428. (Gallery.) _The family of Ostade, painted by himself._

     430. _A smoking Club_.

     431. _The Schoolmaster, with the ferula in his hand, surrounded
by his scholars_.


PAUL POTTER.

  N deg. 446. (Gallery.) _An extensive pasture, with cattle._

This most remarkable picture represents, on the fore-ground, near an
oak, a bull, a ewe with its lamb, and a herdsman, all as large as
life.


REMBRANDT.

  N deg. 457. (Gallery.) _The head of a woman with ear-rings, and dressed
in a fur-cloak._

     458. _The good Samaritan_.

     465. _The Cabinet-maker's family._

     466. _Tobias and his family kneeling before the angel Raphael,
who disappears from his sight, after having made himself known._

     469. _The Presentation of Jesus in the temple._

The pictures, exhibited in the _Saloon_ of the _Louvre_, have
infinitely the advantage of those in the _Great Gallery_; the former
apartment being lighted from the top; while in the latter, the light
is admitted through large windows, placed on both sides, those on the
one side facing the compartments between those on the other; so that,
in this respect, the master-pieces in the _Gallery_ are viewed under
very unfavourable circumstances.

The _Gallery_ of the _Louvre_ is still capable of containing more
pictures, one eighth part of it (that next to the _Tuileries_), being
under repair for the purpose.[1] It has long been a question with the
French republican government, whether the palace of the _Tuileries_
should not be connected to the _Louvre_, by a gallery parallel to
that which borders the Seine. Six years ago, I understand, the
subject was agitated, and dropped again, on consideration of the
state of the country in general, and particularly the finances. It is
now revived; and I was told the other day, that a plan of
construction had absolutely been adopted. This, no doubt, is more
easy than to find the sums of money necessary for carrying on so
expensive an undertaking.

If the fact were true, it is of a nature to produce a great sensation
in modern art, since it is affirmed that the object of this work is
to give a vast display to every article appropriated to general
instruction; for, according to report, it is intended that these
united buildings, should, in addition to the National Library,
contain the collections of statues, pictures, &c. &c. still remaining
at the disposal of the government. I would not undertake to vouch for
the precise nature of the object proposed; but it cannot be denied
that, in this project, there is a boldness well calculated to flatter
the ambition of the Chief Consul.

However, I think it more probable that nothing, in this respect, will
be positively determined in the present state of affairs. The
expedition to St. Domingo will cost an immense sum, not to speak of
the restoration of the French navy, which must occasion great and
immediate calls for money. Whence I conclude that the erection of the
new Gallery, like that of the National Column, will be much talked
of, but remain among other projects in embryo, and the discussion be
adjourned _sine die_.

Leaving the _Great Gallery_, we return to the _Saloon_ of the
_Louvre_, which, being an intermediate apartment, serves as a point
of communication between it and the

GALLERY OF APOLLO.

The old gallery of this name, first called _La petite galerie du
Louvre_, was constructed under the reign of Henry IV, and, from its
origin, ornamented with paintings. This gallery having been consumed
by fire in 1661, owing to the negligence of a workman employed in
preparing a theatre for a grand ballet, in which the king was to
dance with all his court, Lewis XIV immediately ordered it to be
rebuilt and magnificently decorated.

LE BRUN, who then directed works of this description in France,
furnished the designs of all the paintings, sculpture, and ornaments,
which are partly executed. He divided the vault of the roof into
eleven principal compartments; in that which is in the centre, he
intended to represent _Apollo_ in his car, with all the attributes
peculiar to the Sun, which was the king's device. The _Seasons_ were
to have occupied the four nearest compartments; in the others, were
to have been _Evening_ and _Morning_, _Night_ and _Day-break_, the
_Waking of the Waters_, and that of the _Earth at Sun-rise_.

Unfortunately for his fame, this vast project of LE BRUN was never
completed. Lewis XIV, captivated by Versailles, soon turned all his
thoughts towards the embellishment of that palace. The works of the
GALLERY OF APOLLO were entirely abandoned, and, of all this grand
composition, LE BRUN was enabled to execute no more than the
following subjects:

1. _Evening_, represented by Morpheus, lying on a bed of poppies, and
buried in a profound sleep.

2. _Night_ succeeding to day, and lighted by the silvery disk of the
Moon, which, under the figure of Diana, appears in a car drawn by
hinds.

3. _The Waking of the Waters_. Neptune and Amphitrite on a car drawn
by sea-horses, and accompanied by Tritons, Nereids, and other
divinities of the waters, seem to be paying homage to the rising sun,
whose first rays dispel the Winds and Tempests, figured by a group to
the left; while, to the right, Polyphemus, seated on a rock, is
calling with his loud instrument to his Galatea.

The other compartments, which LE BRUN could not paint, on account of
the cessation of the works, remained a long time vacant, and would
have been so at this day, had not the _ci-devant_ Academy of
Painting, to whom the king, in 1764, granted the use of the GALLERY
OF APOLLO, resolved that, in future, the historical painters who
might be admitted members, should be bound to paint for their
reception one of the subjects which were still wanting for the
completion of the ceiling. In this manner, five of the compartments,
which remained to be filled, were successively decorated, namely:

1. _Summer_, by DURAMEAU.

2. _Autumn_, by TARAVAL.

3. _Spring_, by CALLET.

4. _Winter_, by LAGRENEE the younger,

5. _Morning_, or day-break, by RENOU.

The GALLERY OF APOLLO now making part of the CENTRAL MUSEUM, it would
be worthy of the government to cause its ceiling to be completed, by
having the three vacant compartments painted by skillful French
artists.

Under the compartments, and immediately above the cornice, are twelve
medallions, which were to represent the _twelve months of the year_,
characterized by the different occupations peculiar to them: eight
only are executed, and these are the months of summer, autumn, and
winter.

The rich borders in gilt stucco, which serve as frames to all these
paintings, the caryatides which support them, as well as the groups
of Muses, Rivers, and Children, that are distributed over the great
cornice, are worthy of remark. Not only were the most celebrated
sculptors then in France, GASPAR and BALTHAZAR MARSY, REGNAUDIN, and
GIRARDON, chosen to execute them; but their emulation was also
excited by a premium of three hundred louis, which was promised to
him who should excel. GIRARDON obtained it by the execution of the
following pieces of sculpture:

1. The figure representing a river which is under the _Waking of the
Waters_; at the south extremity of the gallery.

2. The two trophies of arms which are near that river.

3. The caryatides that support one of the octagonal compartments
towards the quay, at the foot of which are seen two children; the one
armed with a sickle, the other leaning on a lion.

4. The group of caryatides that supports the great compartment where
_Summer_ is represented, and below which is a child holding a
balance.

5. The two grouped figures of Tragedy and Comedy, which rest on the
great cornice.

In the GALLERY OF APOLLO will be exhibited in succession, about
twelve thousand original drawings of the Italian, Flemish, and French
schools, the greater part of which formerly belonged to the crown.
This valuable collection had been successively enriched by the choice
of those of JABAK, LANQUE, MONTARSIS, LE BRUN, CROZAT, MARIETTE, &c.
yet never rendered public. Private and partial admission to it had,
indeed, been granted; but artists and amateurs, in general, were
precluded from so rich a source of study. By inconceivable neglect,
it seemed almost to have escaped the attention of the old government,
having been for a hundred years shut up in a confined place, instead
of being exhibited to public view.

The variety of the forms and dimensions of these drawings having
opposed the more preferable mode of arranging them by schools, and in
chronological order, the most capital drawings of each master have
been selected (for, in so extensive a collection, it could not be
supposed that they were all equally interesting); and these even are
sufficiently numerous to furnish several successive exhibitions.

The present exhibition consists of upwards of two hundred drawings by
the most distinguished masters of the Italian school, about one
hundred by those of the Flemish, and as many, or rather more, by
those of the French. They are placed in glazed frames, so contrived
as to admit of the subjects being changed at pleasure. Among the
drawings by RAPHAEL, is the great cartoon of the Athenian School, a
valuable fragment which served for the execution of the grand
_fresco_ painting in the Vatican, the largest and finest of all his
productions. It was brought from the Ambrosian library at Milan, and
is one of the most instructive works extant for a study.

Besides the drawings, is a frame containing a series of portraits of
illustrious personages who made a figure in the reign of Lewis XIV.
They are miniatures in enamel, painted chiefly by the celebrated
PETITOT of Geneva.

Here are also to be seen some busts and antique vases. The most
remarkable of the latter is one of Parian marble, about twenty-one
inches in height by twelve in diameter. It is of an oval form; the
handles, cut out of the solid stone, are ornamented with four swans'
heads, and the neck with branches of ivy. On the swell is a
bas-relief, sculptured in the old Greek style, and in the centre
is an altar on which these words may be decyphered.

  [Greek: SOSIBIOS ATAENAIOS EPOIEI.]
  _Sosibios of Athens fecit._

This beautiful vase[2] is placed on a table of violet African
breccia, remarkable for its size, being twelve feet in length, three
feet ten inches in breadth, and upwards of three inches in thickness.

It might, at first, be supposed that the indiscriminate admission of
persons of all ranks to a Museum, which presents so many attractive
objects, would create confusion, and occasion breaches of decorum.
But this is by no means the case. _Savoyards_, _poissardes_, and the
whole motley assemblage of the lower classes of both sexes in Paris,
behave themselves with as much propriety as the more refined
visiters; though their remarks, perhaps, may be expressed in language
less polished. In conspicuous places of the various apartments,
boards are affixed, on which is inscribed the following significant
appeal to the uncultivated mind, "_Citoyens, ne touchez a rien; mais
respectez la Propriete Nationale_." Proper persons are stationed here
and there to caution such as, through thoughtlessness or ignorance,
might not attend to the admonition.

On the days appropriated to the accommodation of students, great
numbers are to be seen in different parts of the Museum, some mounted
on little stages, others standing or sitting, all sedulously employed
in copying the favourite object of their studies. Indeed, the epithet
CENTRAL has been applied to this establishment, in order to designate
a MUSEUM, which is to contain the choicest productions of art, and,
of course, become the _centre_ of study. Here, nothing has been
neglected that could render such an institution useful, either in a
political light, or in regard to public instruction. Its magnificence
and splendour speak to every eye, and are calculated to attract the
attention of foreigners from the four quarters of the globe; while,
as a source of improvement, it presents to students the finest models
that the arts and sciences could assemble. In a philosophical point
of view, such a Museum may be compared to a torch, whose light will
not only dispel the remnant of that bad taste which, for a century,
has predominated in the arts dependent on design, but also serve to
guide the future progress of the rising generation.

[Footnote 1: In the great _Gallery_ of the _Louvre_ are suspended
about nine hundred and fifty pictures; which, with ninety in the
_Saloon_, extend the number of the present exhibition to one thousand
and forty.]

[Footnote 2: Whatever may be the beauty of this vase, two others are
to be seen in Paris, which surpass it, according to the opinion of
one of the most celebrated antiquaries of the age, M. VISCONTI. They
are now in the possession of M. AUBRI, doctor of Physic, residing at
N deg.. 272, _Rue St. Thomas du Louvre_, but they formerly graced the
cabinet of the _Villa-Albani_ at Rome. In this apartment, Cardinal
Alessandro had assembled some of the most valuable ornaments of
antiquity. Here were to be seen the Apollo _Sauroctonos_ in bronze,
the Diana in alabaster, and the _unique_ bas-relief of the apothesis
of Hercules. By the side of such rare objects of art, these vases
attracted no less attention. To describe them as they deserve, would
lead me too far; they need only to be seen to be admired. Although
their form is antique, the execution of them is modern, and ascribed
to the celebrated sculptor, SILVIO DA VELETRI, who lived in the
beginning of the seventeenth century. Indeed, M. VISCONTI affirms
that antiquity affords not their equal; assigning as a reason that
porphyry was introduced into Rome at a period when the fine arts were
tending to their decline. Notwithstanding the hardness of the
substance, they are executed with such taste and perfection, that the
porphyry is reduced to the thinness of china.]



LETTER XVIII.

_Paris, November 17, 1801._

The _Louvre_, the _Tuileries_, together with the _National Fete_ in
honour of Peace, and a crowd of interesting objects, have so
engrossed our attention, that we seem to have overlooked the
_ci-devant Palais Royal_. Let us then examine that noted edifice,
which now bears the name of

PALAIS DU TRIBUNAT.

In 1629, Cardinal Richelieu began the construction of this palace.
When finished, in 1636, he called it the _Palais Cardinal_, a
denomination which was much criticized, as being unworthy of the
founder of the French Academy.

Like the politic Wolsey, who gave Hampton-Court to Henry VIII, the
crafty Richelieu, in 1639, thought proper to make a present of this
palace to Lewis XIII. After the death of that king, Anne of Austria,
queen of France and regent of the kingdom, quitted the _Louvre_ to
inhabit the _Palais Cardinal_, with her sons Lewis XIV and the Duke
of Anjou.

The first inscription was then removed, and this palace was called
_le Palais Royal_, a name which it preserved till the revolution,
when, after the new title assumed by its then owner, it was
denominated _la Maison Egalite_, till, under the consular government,
since the Tribunate have here established their sittings, it has
obtained its present appellation of _Palais du Tribunat_.

In the sequel, Lewis XIV granted to Monsieur, his only brother,
married to Henrietta Stuart, daughter of Charles I, the enjoyment of
the _Palais Royal_, and afterwards vested the property of it in his
grandson, the Duke of Chartres.

That prince, become Duke of Orleans, and regent of France, during the
minority of Lewis XV, resided in this palace, and (to use Voltaire's
expression) hence gave the signal of voluptuousness to the whole
kingdom. Here too, he ruled it with principles the most daring;
holding men, in general, in great contempt, and conceiving them to be
all as insidious, as servile, and as covetous as those by whom he was
surrounded. With the superiority of his character, he made a sport of
governing this mass of individuals, as if the task was unworthy of
his genius. The fact is illustrated by the following anecdote.

At the commencement of his regency, the debts of the State were
immense, and the finances exhausted: such great evils required
extraordinary remedies; he wished to persuade the people that
paper-money was better than specie. Thousands became the dupes
of their avarice, and too soon awoke from their dream only to curse
the authors of a project which ended in their total ruin. It is almost
needless to mention that I here allude to the Mississippi bubble.

In circumstances so critical, the Parliament of Paris thought it
their duty to make remonstrances. They accordingly sent deputies to
the regent, who was persuaded that they wished to stir up the
Parisians against him. After having listened to their harangue with
much phelgm, he gave them his answer in four words: "Go and be
d----n'd." The deputy, who had addressed him, nothing disconcerted,
instantly replied: "Sir, it is the custom of the Parliament to enter
in their registers the answers which they receive from the throne:
shall they insert this?"

The principles of the regent's administration, which succeeded those
of Lewis XIV, form in history, a very striking shade. The French
nation, which, plastic as wax, yields to every impression, was
new-modelled in a single instant. As a rotten speck, by spreading,
contaminates the finest fruit, so was the _Palais Royal_ the corrupt
spot, whence the contagion of debauchery was propagated, even to the
remotest parts of the kingdom.

This period, infinitely curious and interesting, paved the way to the
present manners. If the basis of morality be at this day overthrown
in France, the regency of Philip of Orleans, by completing what the
dissolute court of Lewis XIV had begun, has occasioned that rapid
change, whose influence was felt long before the revolution, and
will, in all probability, last for ages. At least, I think that such
a conclusion is exemplified by what has occurred in England since the
profligate reign of Charles II, the effects of whose example have
never been done away.

Different circumstances have produced considerable alterations in
this palace, so that, at the present day, its numerous buildings
preserve of the first architect, LE MERCIER, no more than a small
part of the second court.

The principal entrance of the _Palais du Tribunat_ is from the _Rue
St. Honore_. The facade, on this side, which was constructed in 1763,
consists of two pavilions, ornamented by Doric and Ionic pillars, and
connected by a lofty stone-wall, perforated with arches, to three
grand gates, by which you enter the first court. Here, two elegant
wings present themselves, decorated with pilasters, also of the Doric
and Ionic orders, which are likewise employed for the pillars of the
avant-corps in the centre. This avant-corps is pierced with three
arches, which serve as a passage into the second court, and
correspond with the three gates before-mentioned.

Having reached the vestibule, between the two courts, where large
Doric pillars rise, though partly concealed by a number of little
shops and stalls, you see, on the right, the handsome elliptical
stair-case, which leads to the apartments. It branches off into two
divisions at the third step, and is lighted by a lofty dome. The
balustrade of polished iron is beautiful, and is said to have cost
thirty-two workmen two years' labour. Before the revolution,
strangers repaired hither to admire the cabinet of gems and engraved
stones, the cabinet of natural history, the collection of models of
arts, trades, and manufactures, and the famous collection of
pictures, belonging to the _last_ duke of Orleans, and chiefly
assembled, at a vast expense, by his grandfather, the regent.

This second court is larger than the first; but it still remains in
an incomplete state. The right-hand wing only is finished, and is
merely a continuation of that which we have seen in the other court.
On the left hand, is the site of the new hall intended for the
sittings of the Tribunate. Workmen are now employed in its
construction; heaps of stones and mortar are lying about, and, the
building seems to proceed with tolerable expedition. Here, in the
back-ground, is a crowd of little stalls for the sale of various
articles, such as prints, plays, fruit, and pastry. In front stand
such carriages as remain in waiting for those who may have been set
down at this end of the palace. Proceeding onward, you pass through
two parallel wooden galleries, lined on each side with shops, and
enter the formerly-enchanting regions of the

JARDIN DU PALAIS DU TRIBUNAT.

The old garden of the _Palais Royal_, long famous for its shady
walks, and for being the most fashionable public promenade in Paris,
had, from its centrical situation, gradually attracted to its
vicinity a considerable number of speculators, who there opened
ready-furnished hotels, coffee-houses, and shops of various
descriptions. The success of these different establishments awakened
the cupidity of its wealthy proprietor, then Duke, of Chartres, who,
conceiving that the ground might be made to yield a capital
augmentation to his income, fixed on a plan for enclosing it by a
magnificent range of buildings.

Notwithstanding the clamours of the Parisian public, who, from long
habit, considered that they had a sort of prescriptive right to this
favourite promenade, the axe was laid to the celebrated _arbre de
Cracovie_ and other venerable trees, and their stately heads were
soon levelled to the ground. Every one murmured as if these trees had
been his own private property, and cut down against his will and
pleasure. This will not appear extraordinary, when it is considered
that, under their wide-spreading branches, which afforded a shelter
impervious to the sun and rain, politicians by day, adjusted the
balance of power, and arbiters of taste discussed the fashions of the
moment; while, by night, they presented a canopy, beneath which were
often arranged the clandestine bargains of opera-girls and other
votaries of Venus.

After venting their spleen in vague conjectures, witty epigrams, and
lampoons, the Parisians were silent. They presently found that they
were, in general, not likely to be losers by this devastation. In
1782, the execution of the new plan was begun: in less than three
years, the present inclosure was nearly completed, and the modern
garden thrown open to the public, uniting to the advantages of the
ancient one, a thousand others more refined and concentrated.

The form of this garden is a parallelogram, whose length is seven
hundred and two feet by three hundred in breadth, taken at its
greatest dimensions. It is bordered, on three of its sides, by new,
uniform buildings, of light and elegant architecture. Rising to an
elevation of forty-two feet, these buildings present two regular
stories, exclusively of the _mansarde_, or attic story, decorated by
festoons, bas-reliefs, and large Composite fluted pillars, bearing an
entablature in whose frieze windows are pierced. Throughout its
extent, the whole edifice is crowned by a balustrade, on the
pedestals of which vases are placed at equal distances.

In the middle of the garden stood a most singular building, partly
subterraneous, called a _Cirque_. This circus, which was first opened
in 1789, with concerts, balls, &c. was also appropriated to more
useful objects, and, in 1792, a _Lyceum of Arts_ was here
established; but in 1797, it was consumed by fire, and its site is
now occupied by a grass-plot. On the two long sides of the garden are
planted three rows of horse-chesnut trees, not yet of sufficient
growth to afford any shade; and what is new, is a few shrubs and
flowers in inclosed compartments. The walks are of gravel, and kept
in good order.

On the ground-floor, a covered gallery runs entirely round the
garden. The shops, &c. on this floor, as well as the apartments of
the _entresol_ above them, receive light by one hundred and eighty
porticoes, which are open towards the garden, and used to have each a
glass lantern, with reflectors, suspended in the middle of their
arch. In lieu of these, some of a less brilliant description are now
distributed on a more economical plan under the piazzas; but, at the
close of day, the rivalship of the shopkeepers, in displaying their
various commodities, creates a blaze of light which would strike a
stranger as the effect of an illumination.

The fourth side of the garden towards the _Rue St. Honore_ is still
occupied by a double gallery, constructed, as I have already
mentioned, of wood, which has subsisted nearly in its present state
ever since I first visited Paris in 1784. It was to have been
replaced by a colonnade for the inclosure of the two courts. This
colonnade was to have consisted of six rows of Doric pillars,
supporting a spacious picture-gallery, (intended for the whole of the
Orleans collection), which was to have constituted the fourth facade
to the garden, and have formed a covered walk, communicating with the
galleries of the other three sides.

These galleries, whose whole circumference measures upwards of a
third of a mile, afford to the public, even in bad weather, a walk
equally agreeable and convenient, embellished, on the one side, by
the aspect of the garden, and, on the other, by the studied display
of every thing that taste and fashion can invent to captivate the
attention of passengers.

No place in Paris, however, exhibits such a contrast to its former
attractions as this once-fashionable rendezvous. The change of its
name from _Palais Royal_ to _Maison Egalite_ conveys not to the
imagination a dissimilitude more glaring than is observable between
the present frequenters of this favourite promenade, and those who
were in the habit of flocking hither before the revolution.

At that period, the scene was enlivened by the most brilliant and
most captivating company in the capital, both in point of exterior
and manners. At this day, the medal is exactly reversed. In lieu of
well-dressed or well-behaved persons of both sexes, this garden,
including its purlieus, presents, morning and evening, nothing but
hordes of stock-jobbers, money-brokers, gamblers, and adventurers of
every description. The females who frequent it, correspond nearly to
the character of the men; they are, for the greater part, of the most
debauched and abandoned class: for a Lais of _bon ton_ seldom
ventures to shew herself among this medley of miscreants.

In the crowd, may be occasionally remarked a few strangers attracted
by curiosity, and other individuals of respectable appearance called
hither on business, as well as some inoffensive newsmongers,
resorting to the coffee-houses to read the papers. But, in general,
the great majority, of the company, now seen here, is of a cast so
extremely low, that no decent woman, whether married or single,
thinks of appearing in a place where she would run a risk of being
put out of countenance in passing alone, even in the daytime. In the
evening, the company is of a still worse complexion; and the
concourse becomes so great under the piazzas, particularly when the
inclemency of the weather drives people out of the garden, that it is
sometimes difficult to cross through the motley assemblage. At the
conclusion of the performances in the neighbouring theatres, there is
a vast accession of the inferior order of nymphs of the Cyprian
corps; and then, amorous conversation and dalliance reach the summit
of licentious freedom.

The greater part of the political commotions which have, at different
times, convulsed Paris, took their rise in the _ci-devant Palais
Royal_, or it has, in some shape, been their theatre. In this palace
too originated the dreadful reverse of fortune which the queen
experienced; and, indeed, when the cart in which her majesty was
carried to the scaffold, passed before the gates of this edifice, she
was unable to repress a sign of indignation.

All writers who have spoken of the inveterate hatred, which existed
between the queen and M. d'Orleans, have ascribed it to despised
love, whose pangs, as Shakspeare tells, us, are not patiently
endured. Some insist that the duke, enamoured of the charms of the
queen, hazarded a declaration, which her majesty not only received
with disdain, but threatened to inform the king of in case of a
renewal of his addresses. Others affirm that the queen, at one time,
shewed that the duke was not indifferent to her, and that, on a hint
being given to him to that effect, he replied: "Every one may be
ambitious to please the queen, except myself. Our interests are too
opposite for Love ever to unite them." On this foundation is built
the origin of the animosity which, in the end, brought both these
great personages to the scaffold.

Whatever may have been the motive which gave rise to it, certain it
is that they never omitted any opportunity of persecuting each other.
The queen had no difficulty in pourtraying the duke as a man addicted
to the most profligate excesses, and in alienating from him the mind
of the king: he, on his side, found it as easy, by means of
surreptitious publications, to represent her as a woman given to
illicit enjoyments; so that, long before the revolution, the
character both of the queen and the duke were well known to the
public; and their example tended not a little to increase the general
dissoluteness of morals. The debaucheries of the one served as a
model to all the young rakes of fashion; while the levity of the
other, was imitated by what were termed the _amiable_ women of the
capital.

After his exile in 1788, the hatred of M. d'Orleans towards the queen
roused that ambition which he inherited from his ancestors. In
watching her private conduct, in order to expose her criminal
weaknesses, he discovered a certain political project, which gave
birth to the idea of his forming a plan of a widely-different nature.
Hitherto he had given himself little trouble about State affairs;
but, in conjunction with his confidential friends, he now began to
calculate the means of profiting by the distress of his country.

The first shocks of the revolution had so electrified the greater
part of the Parisians, that, in regard to the Duke of Orleans, they
imperceptibly passed from profound contempt to blind infatuation. His
palace became the rendezvous of all the malcontents of the court, and
his garden the place of assembly of all the demagogues. His exile
appeared a public calamity, and his recall was celebrated as a
triumph. Had he possessed a vigour of intellect, and a daring equal
to the situation of leader of a party, there is little doubt that he
might have succeeded in his plan, and been declared regent. His
immense income, amounting to upwards of three hundred thousand pounds
sterling, was employed to gain partisans, and secure the attachment
of the people.

After the taking of the Bastille, it is admitted that his party was
sufficiently powerful to effect a revolution in his favour; but his
pusillanimity prevailed over his ambition. The active vigilance of
the queen thwarting his projects, he resolved to get rid of her; and
in that intention was the irruption of the populace directed to
Versailles. This fact seems proved: for, on some one complaining
before him in 1792, that the revolution proceeded too slowly. "It
would have been terminated long ago," replied he, "had the queen been
sacrificed on the 5th of October 1789."

Two months before the fall of the throne, M. d'Orleans still reckoned
to be able to attain his wishes; but he soon found himself
egregiously mistaken. The factions, after mutually accusing each
other of having him for their chief, ended by deserting him; and,
after the death of the king, he became a stranger to repose, and, for
the second time, an object of contempt. The necessity of keeping up
the exaltation of the people, had exhausted his fortune, great as it
was; and want of money daily detached different agents from his
party. His plate, his pictures, his furniture, his books, his
trinkets, his gems, all went to purchase the favour, and at length
the protection, of the Maratists. Not having it in his power to
satisfy their cupidity, he opened loans on all sides, and granted
illusory mortgages. Having nothing more left to dispose of, he was
reduced, as a last resource, to sell his body-linen. In this very
bargain was he engaged, when he was apprehended and sent to
Marseilles.

Although acquitted by the criminal tribunal, before which he was
tried in the south of France, he was still detained there in prison.
At first, he had shed tears, and given himself up to despair, but now
hope once more revived his spirits, and he availed himself of the
indulgence granted him, by giving way to his old habits of
debauchery. On being brought to Paris after six months' confinement,
he flattered himself that he should experience the same lenity in the
capital. The jailer of the _Conciergerie,_ not knowing whether M.
d'Orleans would leave that prison to ascend the throne or the
scaffold, treated him with particular respect; and he himself was
impressed with the idea that he would soon resume an ascendency in
public affairs. But, on his second trial, he was unanimously declared
guilty of conspiring against the unity and indivisibility of the
Republic, and condemned to die, though no proof whatever of his guilt
was produced to the jury. One interrogatory put to him is deserving
of notice. It was this: "Did you not one day say to a deputy: _What
will you ask of me when I am king?_ And did not the deputy reply: _I
will ask you for a pistol to blow out your brains?_"

Every one who was present at the condemnation of M. d'Orleans, and
saw him led to the guillotine affirms that if he never shewed courage
before, he did at least on that day. On hearing the sentence, he
called out: "Let it be executed directly." From the revolutionary
tribunal he was conducted straight to the scaffold, where,
notwithstanding the reproaches and imprecations which accompanied him
all the way, he met his fate with unshaken firmness.



LETTER XIX.

_Paris, November 18, 1801._

But if the _ci-devant Palais Royal_ has been the mine of political
explosions, so it still continues to be the epitome of all the trades
in Paris. Under the arcades, on the ground-floor, here are, as
formerly, shops of jewellers, haberdashers, artificial florists,
milliners, perfumers, print-sellers, engravers, tailors, shoemakers,
hatters, furriers, glovers, confectioners, provision-merchants,
woollen-drapers, mercers, cutlers, toymen, money-changers, and
booksellers, together with several coffee-houses, and
lottery-offices, all in miscellaneous succession.

Among this enumeration, the jewellers' shops are the most attractive
in point of splendour. The name of the proprietor is displayed in
large letters of artificial diamonds, in a conspicuous compartment
facing the door. This is a sort of signature, whose brilliancy
eclipses all other names, and really dazzles the eyes of the
spectators. But at the same time it draws the attention both of the
learned and the illiterate: I will venture to affirm that the name of
one of these jewellers is more frequently spelt and pronounced than
that of any great man recorded in history, either ancient or modern.

With respect to the price of the commodities exposed for sale in the
_Palais du Tribunat_, it is much the same as in _Bond Street_, you
pay one third at least for the idea of fashion annexed to the name of
the place where you make the purchase, though the quality of the
article may be nowise superior to what you might procure elsewhere.
As in Bond Street too, the rents in this building are high, on which
account the shopkeepers are, in some measure, obliged to charge
higher than those in other parts of the town. Not but I must do them
the justice to acknowledge that they make no scruple to avail
themselves of every prejudice formerly entertained in favour of this
grand emporium, in regard to taste, novelty, &c. by a still further
increase of their prices. No small advantage to the shopkeepers
established here is the chance custom, arising from such a variety of
trades being collected together so conveniently, all within the same
inclosure. A person resorting hither to procure one thing, is sure to
be reminded of some other want, which, had not the article presented
itself to his eye, would probably have escaped his recollection; and,
indeed, such is the thirst of gain, that several tradesmen keep a
small shop under these piazzas, independently of a large warehouse in
another quarter of Paris.

Pamphlets and other ephemeral productions usually make their first
appearance in the _Palais du Tribunat_; and strangers may rely on
being plagued by a set of fellows who here hawk about prohibited
publications, of the most immoral tendency, embellished with
correspondent engravings; such as _Justine, ou les malheurs de la
vertu, Les quarante manieres, &c._ They seldom, I am told, carry the
publication about them, for fear of being unexpectedly apprehended,
but keep it at some secret repository hard by, whence they fetch it
in an instant. It is curious to see with what adroitness these
vagrants elude the vigilance of the police, I had scarcely set my
foot in this building before a Jew-looking fellow, coming close to
me, whispered in my ear: "_Monsieur veut-il la vie polissonne de
Madame--------?_" Madame who do you think? You will stare when I tell
you to fill up the blank with the name of her who is now become the
first female personage in France? I turned round with astonishment;
but the ambulating book-vender had vanished, in consequence, as I
conclude, of being observed by some _mouchard._ Thus, what little
virtue may remain in the mind of youth is contaminated by precept, as
well as example; and the rising generation is in a fair way of being
even more corrupted than that which has preceded it.

  "_AEtas parentum, pejor avis, tulit
    Nos nequiores, mox daturos
      Progeniem vitiosiorem._"

Besides the shops, are some auction-rooms, where you may find any
article of wearing apparel or household furniture, from a lady's wig
_a la Caraculla_ to a bed _a la Grecque:_ here are as many puffers as
in a mock auction in London; and should you be tempted to bid, by the
apparent cheapness of the object put up for sale, it is fifty to one
that you soon repent of your bargain. Not so with the _magazins de
confiance a prix fixe_, where are displayed a variety of articles,
marked at a fixed price, from which there is no abatement.

These establishments are extremely convenient, not only to ingenious
mechanics, who have invented or improved a particular production of
art, of which they wish to dispose, but also to purchasers. You walk
in, and if any article strikes your fancy, you examine it at your
ease; you consider the materials, the workmanship, and lastly the
price, without being hurried by a loquacious shopkeeper into a
purchase which you may shortly regret. A commission of from five to
one half per cent, in graduated proportions, according to the value
of the article, is charged to the seller, for warehouse-room and all
other expenses.

Such is the arrangement of the ground-floor; the apartments on the
first floor are at present occupied by _restaurateurs_, exhibitions
of various kinds, billiard-tables, and _academies de jeu_, or public
gaming-tables, where all the passions are let loose, and all the
torments of hell assembled.

The second story is let out in lodgings, furnished or unfurnished, to
persons of different descriptions, particularly to the priestesses of
Venus. The rooms above, termed _mansardes_, in the French
architectural dialect, are mostly inhabited by old batchelors, who
prefer economy to show; or by artists, who subsist by the employment
of their talents. These chambers are spacious, and though the
ceilings are low, they receive a more uninterrupted circulation of
fresh air, than the less exalted regions.

Over the _mansardes_, in the very roof, are nests of little rooms, or
cock-lofts, resembling, I am told, the cells of a beehive. Journeymen
shopkeepers, domestics, and distressed females are said to be the
principal occupiers of these aerial abodes.

I had nearly forgot to mention a species of apartment little known in
England: I mean the _entresol_, which is what we should denominate a
low story, (though here not so considered), immediately above the
ground-floor, and directly under the first-floor. In this building,
some of the _entresols_ are inhabited by the shopkeepers below; some,
by women of no equivocal calling, who throw out their lures to the
idle youths sauntering under the arcades; and others again are now
become _maisons de pret_, where pawnbrokers exercise their usurious
dealings.

In the _Palais du Tribunat_, as you may remark, not an inch of space
is lost; every hole and corner being turned to account: here and
there, the cellars even: are converted into scenes of gaiety and
diversion, where the master of the house entertains his customers
with a succession of vocal and instrumental music, while they are
taking such refreshments as he furnishes.

This speculation, which has, by all accounts, proved extremely
profitable, was introduced in the early part of the revolution. Since
that period, other speculations, engendered by the luxury of the
times, have been set on foot within the precincts of this palace. Of
two of these, now in full vigour and exercise, I must say a few
words, as they are of a nature somewhat curious.

The one is a _cabinet de decrotteur_, where the art of blacking shoes
is carried to a pitch of perfection hitherto unknown in this country.

Not many years ago, it was common, in Paris, to see counsellors,
abbes, and military officers, as well as _petits-maitres_ of every
denomination, full dressed, that is, with their hat under their arm,
their sword by their side, and their hair in a bag, standing in the
open street, with one leg cocked up on a stool, while a rough
Savoyard or Auvergnat hastily cleaned their shoes with a coarse
mixture of lamp-black and rancid oil. At the present day, the
_decrotteurs_ or shoe-blacks still exercise their profession on the
_Pont Neuf_ and in other quarters; but, as a refinement of the art,
there is also opened, at each of the principal entrances of the
_Palais du Tribunat_, a _cabinet de decrotteur_, or small apartment,
where you are invited to take a chair, and presented with the daily
papers.

The artist, with due care and expedition, first removes the dirt from
your shoes or boots with a sponge occasionally moistened in water,
and by means of several pencils, of different sizes, not unlike those
of a limner, he then covers them with a jetty varnish, rivaling even
japan in lustre. This operation he performs with a gravity and
consequence that can scarcely fail to excite laughter. Yet, according
to the trite proverb, it is not the customer who ought to indulge in
mirth, but the _artist_. Although his price is much dearer than that
demanded by the other professors of this art, his cabinet is seldom
empty from morning to night; and, by a simple calculation, his pencil
is found to produce more than that of some good painters of the
modern French school.

At the first view of the matter, it should appear that the other
speculation might have been hit on by any man with a nose to his
face; but, on more mature consideration, one is induced to think that
its author was a person of some learning, and well read in ancient
history. He, no doubt, took the hint from VESPASIAN. As that emperor
blushed not to make the urine of the citizens of Rome a source of
revenue, so the learned projector in question rightly judged that, in
a place of such resort as the _Palais du Tribunat_, he might, without
shame or reproach, levy a small tax on the Parisians, by providing
for their convenience in a way somewhat analogous. His penetration is
not unhandsomely rewarded; for he derives an income of 12,000 francs,
or L500 sterling, from his _cabinets d'aisance_.

Since political causes first occasioned the shuting up of the old
_Theatre Francais_ in the _Faubourg St. Germain_, now reduced to a
shell by fire, Melpomene and Thalia have taken up their abode in the
south-west angle of the _Palais du Tribunat_, and in its north-west
corner is another theatre, on a smaller scale, where Momus holds his
court; so that be you seriously, sentimentally, or humorously
disposed, you may, without quitting the shelter of the piazzas,
satisfy your inclination. Tragedy, Comedy, and Farce all lie before
you within the purlieus of this extraordinary edifice.

To sum up all the conveniences of the _Palais du Tribunat_, suffice
it to say, that almost every want, natural or artificial, almost
every appetite, gross or refined, might be gratified without passing
its limits; for, while the extravagant voluptuary is indulging in all
the splendour of Asiatic luxury, the parsimonious sensualist need not
depart unsatisfied.

Placed in the middle of Paris, the _Palais du Tribunat_ has been
aptly compared to a sink of vice, whose contagious effects would
threaten society with the greatest evils, were not the scandalous
scenes of the capital here concentrated into one focus. It has also
been mentioned, by the same writer, Mercier, as particularly worthy
of remark, that, since this building is become a grand theatre, where
cupidity, gluttony, and licentiousness shew themselves under every
form and excess, several other quarters of Paris are, in a manner,
purified by the accumulation of vices which flourish in its centre.

Whether or not this assertion be strictly correct, I will not pretend
to determine: but, certain it is that the _Palais du Tribunat_ is a
vortex of dissipation where many a youth is ingulfed. The natural
manner in which this may happen I shall endeavour briefly to explain,
by way of conclusion to this letter.

A young Frenchman, a perfect stranger in Paris, arrives there from
the country, and, wishing to equip himself in the fashion, hastens to
the _Palais du Tribunat_, where he finds wearing apparel of every
description on the _ground-floor_: prompted by a keen appetite, he
dines at a _restaurateur's_ on the _first-floor_: after dinner, urged
by mere curiosity, perhaps, if not decoyed by some sharper on the
look-out for novices, he visits a public gaming-table on the same
story. Fortune not smiling on him, he retires; but, at that very
moment, he meets, on the landing-place, a captivating damsel, who,
like Virgil's Galatea, flies to be pursued; and the inexperienced
youth, after ascending another flight of stairs, is, on the
_second-floor_, ushered into a brothel. Cloyed or disgusted there,
he is again induced to try the humour of the fickle goddess, and
repairs once more to the gaming-table, till, having lost all his
money, he is under the necessity of descending to the _entresol_
to pawn his watch, before he can even procure a lodging in a
_garret_ above.

What other city in Europe can boast of such an assemblage of
accommodation? Here, under the same roof, a man is, in the space of a
few minutes, as perfectly equipped from top to toe, as if he had all
the first tradesmen in London at his command; and shortly after,
without setting his foot into the street, he is as completely
stripped, as if he had fallen into the hands of a gang of robbers.

To cleanse this Augaean stable, would, no doubt, be a Herculean
labour. For that purpose, Merlin (of Douay), when Minister of the
police, proposed to the Directory to convert the whole of the
buildings of the _ci-devant Palais Royal_ into barracks. This was
certainly striking at the root of the evil; but, probably, so bold a
project was rejected, lest its execution, in those critical times,
should excite the profligate Parisians to insurrection.



LETTER XX.

_Paris, November 20, 1801._

One of the private entertainments here in great vogue, and which is
understood to mark a certain pre-eminence in the _savoir-vivre_ of
the present day, is a nocturnal repast distinguished by the
insignificant denomination of a

THE.

A stranger might, in all probability, be led to suppose that he was
invited to a tea-drinking party, when he receives a note couched in
the following terms:

_"Madame R------ prie Monsieur B--------- de lui faire l'honneur de
venir au the quelle doit donner le 5 de ce mois."_

Considering in that light a similar invitation which I received, I
was just on the point of sending an apology, when I was informed that
a _the_ was nothing more or less than a sort of rout, followed by
substantial refreshments, and generally commencing after the
evening's performance was ended at the principal theatres.

On coming out of the opera-house then the other night, I repaired to
the lady's residence in question, and arriving there about twelve
o'clock, found that I had stumbled on the proper hour. As usual,
there were cards, but for those only disposed to play; for, as this
lady happened not to be under the necessity of recurring to the
_bouillotte_ as a financial resource, she gave herself little or no
concern about the card-tables. Being herself a very agreeable,
sprightly woman, she had invited a number of persons of both sexes of
her own character, so that the conversation was kept up with infinite
vivacity till past one o'clock, when tea and coffee were introduced.
These were immediately followed by jellies, sandwiches, pates, and a
variety of savoury viands, in the style of a cold supper, together
with different sorts of wines and liqueurs. In the opinion of some of
the Parisian sybarites, however, no _the_ can be complete without the
addition of an article, which is here conceived to be a perfect
imitation of fashionable English cheer. This is hot punch.

It was impossible for me to refuse the cheerful and engaging _dame du
logis_ to taste her _ponche_, and, in compliment to me as an
Englishman, she presented me with a glass containing at least a
treble allowance. Not being overfond of punch, I would willingly have
relinquished the honour of drinking her health in so large a portion,
apprehending that this beverage might, in quality, resemble that of
the same name which I had tasted here a few evenings ago in one of
the principal coffeehouses. The latter, in fact, was a composition of
new rum, which reminded me of the trash of that kind distilled in New
England, acidulated with rotten lemons, sweetened with capillaire,
and increased by a _quantum sufficit_ of warm water. My hostess's
punch, on the contrary, was made of the best ingredients, agreeably
to the true standard; in a word, it was proper lady's punch, that is,
hot, sweet, sour, and strong. It was distributed in tea-pots, of
beautiful porcelaine, which, independently of keeping it longer warm,
were extremely convenient for pouring it out without spilling. Thus
concluded the entertainment.

About half past two o'clock the party broke up, and I returned home,
sincerely regretting the change in the mode of life of the Parisians.

Before the revolution, the fashionable hour of dinner in Paris was
three o'clock, or at latest four: public places then began early; the
curtain at the grand French opera drew up at a quarter past five. At
the present day, the workman dines at two; the tradesman, at three;
the clerk in a public office, at four; the rich upstart, the
money-broker, the stock-jobber, the contractor, at five; the banker,
the legislator, the counsellor of state, at six; and the ministers,
in general, at seven, nay not unfrequently at eight.

Formerly, when the performance at the opera, and the other principal
theatres, was ended at nine o'clock, or a quarter past, people of
fashion supped at ten or half after; and a man who went much into
public, and kept good company, might retire peaceably to rest by
midnight. In three-fourths of the houses in Paris, there is now no
such meal as supper, except on the occasion of a ball, when it is
generally a mere scramble. This, I presume, is one reason why
substantial breakfasts are so much in fashion.

"_Dejeuners froids et chauds_," is an inscription which now generally
figures on the exterior of a Parisian coffeehouse, beside that of
"_The a l'Anglaise, Cafe a la creme, Limonade, &c_." Solids are here
the taste of the times. Two ladies, who very gallantly invited
themselves to breakfast at my apartments the other morning, were
ready to turn the house out of the window, when they found that I
presented to them nothing more than tea, coffee, and chocolate. I was
instantly obliged to provide cold fowl, ham, oysters, white wine, &c.
I marvel not at the strength and vigour of these French belles. In
appetite, they would cope with an English ploughman, who had just
turned up an acre of wholesome land on an empty stomach.

Now, though a _the_ may be considered as a substitute for a supper,
it cannot, in point of agreeableness, be compared to a _petit
souper_. If a man must sup, and I am no advocate for regular suppers,
these were the suppers to my fancy. A select number of persons, well
assorted, assembled at ten o'clock, after the opera was concluded,
and spent a couple of hours in a rational manner. Sometimes a _petit
souper_ consisted of a simple _tete-a-tete_, sometimes of a _partie
quarree_, or the number was varied at pleasure. But still, in a
_petit souper_, not only much gaiety commonly prevailed, but also a
certain _epanchement de coeur_, which animated the conversation to
such a degree as to render a party of this description the _acme_ of
social intercourse, "the feast of reason and the flow of soul."

Under the old _regime_, not a man was there in office, from the
_ministre d'etat_ to the _commis_, who did not think of making
himself amends for the fatigues of the morning by a _petit souper_:
these _petits soupers_, however, were, in latter times, carried to an
excessive pitch of luxurious extravagance. But for refinements
attempted in luxury, though, I confess, of a somewhat dissolute
nature, our countryman eclipsed all the French _bons vivans_ in
originality of conception.

Being in possession of an ample fortune, and willing to enjoy it
according to his fancy, he purchased in Paris a magnificent house,
but constructed on a small scale, where every thing that the most
refined luxury could suggest was assembled. The following is the
account given by one of his friends, who had been an eye-witness to
his manner of living.

"Mr. B---- had made it a rule to gratify his five senses to the
highest degree of enjoyment of which they were susceptible. An
exquisite table, perfumed apartments, the charms of music and
painting; in a word, every thing most enchanting that nature,
assisted by art, could produce, successively flattered his sight, his
taste, his smell, his hearing, and his feeling.

"In a superb saloon, whither he conducted me," says this gentleman,
"were six young beauties, dressed in an extraordinary manner, whose
persons, at first sight, did not appear unknown to me: it struck me
that I had seen their faces more than once, and I was accordingly
going to address them, when Mr. B----, smiling at my mistake,
explained to me the cause of it." "I have, in my amours," said he, "a
particular fancy. The choicest beauty of Circassia would have ho
merit in my eyes, did she not resemble the portrait of some woman,
celebrated in past ages: and while lovers set great value on a
miniature which faithfully exhibits the features of their mistress, I
esteem mine only in proportion to their resemblance to ancient
portraits.

"Conformably to this idea," continued Mr. B----, "I have caused the
intendant of my pleasures to travel all over Europe, with select
portraits, or engravings, copied from the originals. He has succeeded
in his researches, as you see, since you have conceived that you
recognized these ladies on whom you have never before set your eyes;
but whose likenesses you may, undoubtedly, have met with. Their dress
must have contributed to your mistake: they all wear the attire of
the personage they represent; for I wish their whole person to be
picturesque. By these means, I have travelled back several centuries,
and am in possession of beauties whom time had placed at a great
distance."

"Supper was served up. Mr. B---- seated himself between Mary, queen
of Scots, and Anne Bullein. I placed myself opposite to him,"
concludes the gentleman, "having beside me Ninon de l'Enclos, and
Gabrielle d'Estrees. We also had the company of the fair Rosamond and
Nell Gwynn; but at the head of the table was a vacant elbow-chair,
surmounted by a canopy, and destined for Cleopatra, who was coming
from Egypt, and of whose arrival Mr. B---- was in hourly
expectation."



LETTER XXI.

_Paris, November 21, 1801._

Often as we have heard of the extraordinary number of places of
public entertainment in Paris, few, if any, persons in England have
an idea of its being so considerable as it is, even at the present
moment. But, in 1799, at the very time when we were told over and
over again in Parliament, that France was unable to raise the
necessary supplies for carrying on the war, and would, as a matter of
course, be compelled not only to relinquish her further projects of
aggrandisement, but to return to her ancient territorial limits; at
that critical period, there existed in Paris, and its environs, no
less than seventy

PUBLIC PLACES OF VARIOUS DESCRIPTIONS.

Under the old _regime_, nothing like this number was ever known. Such
an almost incredible variety of amusements is really a phenomenon, in
the midst of a war, unexampled in its consumption of blood and
treasure, It proves that, whatever may have been the public distress,
there was at least a great _show_ of private opulence. Indeed I have
been informed that, at the period alluded to, a spirit of
indifference, prodigality, and dissipation, seemed to pervade every
class of society. Whether placed at the bottom or the top of
Fortune's wheel, a thirst of gain and want of economy were alike
conspicuous among all ranks of people. Those who strained every nerve
to obtain riches, squandered them with equal profusion.

No human beings on earth can be more fond of diversion than the
Parisians. Like the Romans of old, they are content if they have but
_panem et circenses_, which a Frenchman would render by _spectacles
et de quoi manger_. However divided its inhabitants may be on
political subjects, on the score of amusement at least the Republic
is one and indivisible. In times of the greatest scarcity, many a
person went dinnerless to the theatre, eating whatever scrap he could
procure, and consoling himself by the idea of being amused for the
evening, and at the same time saving at home the expense of fire and
candle.

The following list of public places, which I have transcribed for
your satisfaction, was communicated to me by a person of veracity;
and, as far as it goes, its correctness has been confirmed by my own
observation. Although it falls short of the number existing here two
years ago, it will enable you to judge of the ardour still prevalent
among the Parisians, for "running at the ring of pleasure." Few of
these places are shut up, except for the winter; and new ones succeed
almost daily to those which are finally closed. However, for the sake
of perspicuity, I shall annex the letter S to such as are intended
chiefly for summer amusement.

1. _Theatre des Arts, Rue de la Loi_.

2. _------- Francais, Rue de la Loi._

3. _------- Feydeau, Rue Feydeau._

4. _------- Louvois, Rue de Louvois._

5. _------- Favart,_ now _Opera Buffa._

6. _------- de la Porte St. Martin._

7. _------- de la Societe Olympique_ (late _Opera Buffa.)_

8. _------- du Vaudeville, Rue de Chartres._

9. _------- Montansier, Palais du Tribunat._

10. _------- de l'Ambigu Comique, Boulevard du Temple._

11. _------- de la Gaiete, Boulevard du Temple._

12. _------- des Jeunes Artistes, Boulevard St. Martin._

13. _------- des Jeunes Eleves, Rue de Thionville._

14. _------- des Delassemens Comiques, Boulevard du Temple._

15. _------- sans Pretension, Boulevard du Temple._

16. _------- du Marais, Rue Culture Ste. Catherine._

17. _------- de la Cite, vis-a-vis le Palais de Justice._

18. _------- des Victoires, Rue du Bacq._

19. _------- de Moliere, Rue St. Martin._

20. _------- de l'Estrapade._

21. _------- de Mareux, Rue St. Antoine._

22. _------- des Aveugles, Rue St. Denis._

23. _------- de la Rue St. Jean de Beauvais._

24. _Bal masque de l'Opera, Rue de la Loi._

25. _---------- de l'Opera Buffa, Rue de la Victoire._

26. _Bal du Sallon des Etrangers, Rue Grange Bateliere._

27. _--- de l'Hotel de Salm, Rue de Lille, Faubourg St. Germain._

28. _--- de la Rue Michaudiere._

29. _Soirees amusantes de l'Hotel Longueville, Place du Carrousel._

30. _Veillees de la Cite, vis-a-vis le Palais de Justice._

31. _Phantasmagorie de Robertson, Cour des Capucines._

32. _Concert de Feydeau._

33. _Ranelagh au bois de Boulogne._

34. _Tivoli, Rue de Clichy_, S.

35. _Frascati, Rue de la Loi_, S.

36. _Idalie_, S.

37. _Hameau de Chantilly, aux Champs Elysees._

38. _Paphos, Boulevard du Temple._

39. _Vauxhall d'hiver._

40. _-------- d'ete_, S.

41. _-------- a Mousseaux_, S.

42. _-------- a St. Cloud_, S.

43. _-------- au Petit Trianon_, S.

44. _Jardin de l'hotel Biron, Rue de Varenne_, S.

45. _------ Thelusson, Chaussee d'Antin_, S.

40. _------ Marboeuf, Grille de Chaillot_, S.

47. _------ de l'hotel d'Orsay_, S.

48. _Fetes champetres de Bagatelle_, S.

49. _La Muette, a l'entree du Bois de Boulogne_, S.

50. _Colisee, au Parc des Sablons_, S.

51. _Amphitheatre d'equitation de Franconi, aux Capucines._

52. _Panorama, meme lieu._

53. _Exhibition de Curtius, Boulevard du Temple._

54. _Experiences Physiques, au Palais du Tribunat._

55. _La Chaumiere, aux Nouveaux Boulevards._

56. _Cabinet de demonstration de Physiologie et de Pathologie, au
Palais du Tribunat, No. 38, au premier._

Although, previously to the revolution, the taste for dramatic
amusements had imperceptibly spread, Paris could then boast of no
more than three principal theatres, exclusively of _l'Opera Buffa_
introduced in 1788. These were _l'Opera les Francais_, and _les
Italiens_, which, with six inferior ones, called _petits spectacles_,
brought the whole of the theatres to ten in number. The subaltern
houses were incessantly checked in their career by the privileges
granted to the _Comedie Francaise_, which company alone enjoyed the
right to play first-rate productions: it also possessed that of
censorship, and sometimes exercised it in the most despotic manner.
Authors, ever in dispute with the comedians, who dictated the law to
them, solicited, but in vain, the opening of a second French theatre.
The revolution took place, and the unlimited number of theatres was
presently decreed. A great many new ones were opened; but the
attraction of novelty dispersing the amateurs, the number of
spectators did not always equal the expectation of the managers; and
the profits, divided among so many competitors, ceased to be
sufficiently productive for the support of every establishment of
this description. The consequence was, that several of them were soon
reduced to a state of bankruptcy.

Three theatres of the first and second rank have been destroyed by
fire within these two years, yet upwards of twenty are at present
open, almost every night, exclusively of several associations of
self-denominated _artistes-amateurs._

Amidst this false glare of dramatic wealth, theatres of the first
rank have imperceptibly declined, and at last fallen. It comes not
within my province or intention to seek the causes of this in the
defects of their management; but the fact is notorious. The _Theatres
Favart_ and _Feydeau_, at each of which French comic operas were
chiefly represented, have at length been obliged to unite the
strength of their talents, and the disgrace which they have
experienced, has not affected any of those inferior playhouses where
subaltern performers establish their success on an assemblage of
scenes more coarse, and language more unpolished.

At the present moment, the government appear to have taken this
decline of the principal theatres into serious consideration. It is,
I understand, alike to be apprehended, that they may concern
themselves too little or too much in their welfare. Hitherto the
persons charged with the difficult task of upholding the falling
theatres of the first rank, have had the good sense to confine their
measures to conciliation; but, of late, it has been rumoured that the
stage is to be subjected to its former restrictions. The benefit
resulting to the art itself and to the public, from a rivalship of
theatres, is once more called in question: and some people even go so
far as to assert that, with the exception of a few abuses, the
direction of the _Gentils-hommes de la chambre_ was extremely good:
thence it should seem that the only difficulty is to find these lords
of the bed-chamber, if there be any still in being, in order to
restore to them their dramatic sceptre.[1]

Doubtless, the liberty introduced by the revolution has been, in many
respects, abused, and in too many, perhaps, relative to places of
public amusement. But must it, on that account, be entirely lost to
the stage, and falling into a contrary excess, must recourse be had
to arbitrary measures, which might also be abused by those to whose
execution they were intrusted? The unlimited number of theatres may
be a proper subject for the interference of the government: but as to
the liberty of the theatres, included in the number that may be fixed
on to represent pieces of every description, such only excepted as
may be hurtful to morals, seems to be a salutary and incontestable
principle. This it is that, by disengaging the French comic opera
from the narrow sphere to which it was confined, has, in a great
measure, effected a musical revolution, at which all persons of taste
must rejoice, by introducing on that stage the harmonic riches of

Italy. This too it is that has produced, on theatres of the second
and third rank, pieces which are neither deficient in regularity,
connexion, representation, nor decoration. The effect of such a
principle was long wanted here before the revolution, when the
independent spirit of dramatic authors was fettered by the
procrastinations of a set of privileged comedians, who discouraged
them by ungracious refusals, or disgusted them by unjust preferences.
Hence, the old adage in France that, when an author had composed a
good piece, he had performed but half his task; this was true, as the
more difficult half, namely, the getting it read and represented,
still remained to be accomplished.

As for the multiplicity of playhouses, it certainly belongs to the
government to limit their number, not by privileges which might be
granted through favour, or obtained, perhaps, for money. The taste of
the public for theatrical diversions being known, the population
should first be considered, as it is that which furnishes both money
and spectators. It would be easy to ascertain the proportion between
the population of the capital and the number of theatres which it
ought to comprise. Public places should be free as to the species of
amusement, but limited in their number, so as not to exceed the
proportion which the population can bear. The houses would then be
constantly well attended, and the proprietors, actors, authors, and
all those concerned in their success, secure against the consequences
of failure, and the true interest of the art be likewise promoted. In
a word, neither absolute independence, nor exclusive privilege should
prevail; but a middle course be adopted, in order to fix the fate of
those great scenic establishments, which, by forming so essential a
part of public diversion, have a proportionate influence on the
morals of the nation.

I have been led, by degrees, into these observations, not only from a
review of the decline of some of the principal playhouses here, but
also from a conviction that their general principle is applicable to
every other capital in Europe. What, for example, can be more absurd
than, in the dog-days, when room and air are particularly requisite,
that the lovers of dramatic amusement in the British metropolis are
to be crammed into a little theatre in the Haymarket, and stewed year
after year, as in a sweating-room at a bagnio, because half a century
ago an exclusive privilege was inconsiderately granted?

The playhouses here, in general, have been well attended this winter,
particularly the principal ones; but, in Paris, every rank has not
exactly its theatre as at a ball. From the _spectacles_ on the
_Boulevards_ to those of the first and second rank, there is a
mixture of company. Formerly, the lower classes confined themselves
solely to the former; at present, they visit the latter. An increase
of wages has enabled the workman to gratify his inclination for the
indulgence of a species of luxury; and, by a sort of instinct, he now
and then takes a peep at those scenes of which he before entertained,
from hearsay, but an imperfect idea.

If you wish to see a new or favourite piece, you must not neglect to
secure a seat in proper time; for, on such occasions, the house is
full long before the rising of the curtain. As to taking places in
the manner we do in England, there is no such arrangement to be made,
except, indeed, you choose to take a whole box, which is expensive.
In that case you pay for it at the time you engage it, and it is kept
locked the whole evening, or till you and your party, make your
appearance.[2]

At all the _spectacles_ in Paris, you are literally kept on the
outside of the house till you have received a ticket, in exchange for
your money, through an aperture in the exterior wall. Within a few
paces of the door of the principal theatres are two receiver's
offices, which are no sooner open, than candidates for admission
begin to form long ranks, extending from the portico into the very
street, and advance to them two abreast in regular succession. A
steady sentinel, posted at the aperture, repeats your wishes to the
receiver, and in a mild, conciliating manner, facilitates their
accomplishment. Other sentinels are stationed for the preservation of
order, under the immediate eye of the officer, who sees that every
one takes his turn to obtain tickets: however, it is not uncommon,
for forestallers to procure a certain number of them, especially at
the representation of a new or favourite piece, and offer them
privately at a usurious price which many persons are glad to pay
rather than fall into the rear of the ranks.

The method I always take to avoid this unpleasant necessity, I will
recommend to you as a very simple one, which may, perhaps, prevent
you from many a theatrical disappointment. Having previously informed
myself what _spectacle_ is best worth seeing, while I am at dinner I
send my _valet de place_, or if I cannot conveniently spare him, I
desire him to dispatch a _commissionnaire_ for the number of tickets
wanted, so that when I arrive at the theatre, I have only to walk in,
and place myself to the best advantage.

It is very wisely imagined not to establish the receiver's offices in
the inside of the house, as in our theatres. By this plan, however
great may be the crowd, the entrance is always unobstructed, and
those violent struggles and pressures, which among us have cost the
lives of many, are effectually prevented. You will observe that no
half-price is taken at any theatre in Paris; but in different parts
of the house, there are offices, called _bureaux de supplement_,
where, if you want to pass from one part of it to another, you
exchange your counter-mark on paying the difference.

Nothing can be better regulated than the present police, both
interior and exterior, of the theatres in Paris. The eye is not
shocked, as was formerly the case, by the presence of black-whiskered
grenadiers, occupying different parts of the house, and, by the
inflexible sternness of their countenance, awing the spectators into
a suppression of their feelings. No fusileer, with a fixed bayonet
and piece loaded with ball, now dictates to the auditors of the pit
that such a seat must hold so many persons, though several among them
might, probably, be as broad-bottomed as Dutchmen. If you find
yourself incommoded by heat or pressure, you are at liberty to
declare it without fear of giving offence. The criticism of a man of
taste is no longer silenced by the arbitrary control of a military
despot, who, for an exclamation or gesture, not exactly coinciding
with his own prepossessions, pointed him out to his myrmidons, and
transferred him at once to prison. You may now laugh with Moleire, or
weep with Racine, without having your mirth or sensibility thus
unseasonably checked in its expansion.

The existence of this despotism has been denied; but facts are
stubborn things, and I will relate to you an instance in which I saw
it most wantonly exercised. Some years ago I was present at the
_Theatre Francais_, when, in one of Corneille's pieces, Mademoiselle
Raucourt, the tragic actress, was particularly negligent in the
delivery of a passage, which, to do justice to the author, required
the nicest discrimination. An amateur in the _parterre_ reproved her,
in a very gentle manner, for a wrong emphasis. Being at this time a
favourite of the queen, she was, it seems, superior to admonition,
and persisted in her misplaced shrieks, till it became evident that
she set the audience at defiance: other persons then joined the
former in expressing their disapprobation. Instantly the _major_
singled out the leading critic: two grenadiers forced their way to
the place where he was seated, and conveyed him to prison for having
had the audacity to reprove an actress in favour at court. From such
improper exercise of authority, the following verse had become a
proverb:

  _"II est bien des sifflets, mais nous avons la garde."_

Many there are, I know, who approved of this manner of bridling the
fickle Parisians, on the ground that they were so used to the curb
that they could no longer dispense with it. A guard on the outside of
a theatre is unquestionably necessary, and proper for the
preservation of order; but that the public should not be at liberty
to approve or condemn such a passage, or such an actor, is at once to
stifle the expression of that general opinion which alone can produce
good performers. The interior police of the theatre being at present
almost entirely in the hands of the public themselves, it is, on that
account, more justly observed and duly respected.

Considering the natural impetuosity of their character, one is
surprised at the patient tranquillity with which the French range
themselves in their places. Seldom do they interrupt the performance
by loud conversation, but exchange their thoughts in a whisper. When
one sees them applaud with rapture a tender scene, which breathes
sentiments of humanity or compassion, speaks home to every feeling
heart, and inspires the most agreeable sensations, one is tempted to
question whether the Parisians of the present day belong to the
identical race that could, at one time, display the ferocity of
tigers, and, at another, the tameness of lambs, while their nearest
relations and best friends were daily bleeding on the scaffold?

By the existing regulations, many of which are worthy of being
adopted in London, no theatre can be opened in Paris without the
permission of the police, who depute proper persons to ascertain that
the house is solidly built, the passages and outlets unincumbered and
commodious, and that it is provided with reservoirs of water, and an
adequate number of fire-engines.

Every public place that may be open, is to be shut up immediately,
if, for one single day, the proprietors neglect to keep the
reservoirs full of water, the engines in proper order, and the
firemen ready.

No persons can be admitted behind the scenes, except those employed
in the service of the theatre. Nor is the number of tickets
distributed to exceed that of the persons the house can conveniently
hold.

No coachman, under any pretext whatever, can quit the reins of his
horses, while the persons he has driven, are getting out of or into
their carriage. Indeed, the necessity of his doing so is obviated by
porters stationed at the door of the theatres, and appointed by the
police. They are distinguished by a brass plate, on which their
permission and the name of the theatre are engraved.

At all the theatres in Paris, there is an exterior guard, which is at
the disposal of the _civil_ officer, stationed there for the
preservation of order. This guard cannot enter the inside of the
theatre but in case of the safety of the public being exposed, and at
the express requisition of the said officer, who can never introduce
the armed force into the house, till after he has, in a loud voice,
apprized the audience of his intention.

Every citizen is bound to obey, _provisionally_, the officer of
police. In consequence, every person invited by the officer of
police, or summoned by him, to quit the house, is immediately to
repair to the police-office of the theatre, in order to give such
explanations as may be required of him. The said officer may either
transfer him to the competent tribunal, or set him at liberty,
according to circumstances.

Proper places are appointed for carriages to wait at. When the play
is ended, no carriage in waiting can move till the first crowd coming
out of the house has disappeared. The commanding officer of the guard
on duty decides the moment when carriages may be called.

No carriage can move quicker than a foot-pace, and but on a single
rank, till it has got clear of the streets in the vicinity of the
theatre. Nor can it arrive thither but by the streets appointed for
that purpose.

Two hours before the rising of the curtain, sentinels are placed in
sufficient number to facilitate the execution of these orders, and to
prevent any obstruction in the different avenues of the theatre.

Indeed, obstruction is now seldom seen; I have more than once had the
curiosity to count, and cause to be counted, all the _private_
carriages in waiting at the grand French opera, on a night when the
boxes were filled with the most fashionable company. Neither I nor my
_valet de place_ could ever reckon more than from forty to fifty;
whereas, formerly, it was not uncommon to see here between two and
three hundred; and the noise of so many equipages rattling through
the streets, from each of the principal theatres, sufficiently
indicated that the performance was ended.

By the number of advertisements in the _petites affiches_ or daily
advertiser of Paris, offering a reward for articles lost, no doubt
can exist of there being a vast number of pickpockets in this gay
capital; and a stranger must naturally draw such an inference from
observing where the pockets are placed in men's clothes: in the coat,
it is in the inside of the facing, parallel to the breast: in the
waistcoat, it is also in the inside, but lower down, so that when a
Frenchman wants to take out his money, he must go through the
ceremony of unbuttoning first his surtout, if he wears one in winter,
then his coat, and lastly his waistcoat. In this respect, the ladies
have the advantage; for, as I have already mentioned, they wear no
pockets.

[Footnote 1: During the old _regime_, the theatres were under the
control of the _Gentils-hommes de la chambre_, but at the
establishment of the directorial government, they were placed in the
power of the Minister of the Interior, in whose department they have
since continued. Of late, however, it is asserted, that they are each
to be under the direction of a Prefect of the Palace.]

[Footnote 2: Independently of the boxes reserved for the officers of
the staff of the city of Paris, and those at the head of the police,
who have individually free admission to all the _spectacles_ on
producing their ivory ticket, there is also a box at each theatre
appropriated to the Minister of Public Instruction.]



LETTER XXII.

_Paris, November 23, 1801._

Yesterday being the day appointed for the opening of the session of
the Legislative Body, I was invited by a member to accompany him
thither, in order to witness their proceedings. No one can be
admitted without a ticket; and by the last constitution it is
decreed, that not more than two hundred strangers are to be present
at the sittings. The gallery allotted for the accommodation of the
public, is small, even in proportion to that number, and, in general,
extremely crowded. My friend, aware of this circumstance, did me the
favour to introduce me into the body of the hall, where I was seated
very conveniently, both for seeing and hearing, near the _tribune_,
to the left of the President.

This hall was built for the Council of Five Hundred, on the site of
the grand apartments of the _Palais Bourbon_. Since the accession of
the consular government, it has been appropriated to the sittings of
the Legislative Body, on which account the palace has taken their
name, and over the principal entrance is inscribed, in embossed
characters of gilt bronze:

PALAIS DU CORPS LEGISLATIF.

The palace stands on the south bank of the Seine, facing the _Pont de
la Concorde_. It was begun, in 1722, for Louise-Francoise de Bourbon,
a legitimated daughter of Lewis XIV. GIRARDINI, an Italian architect,
planned the original building, the construction of which was
afterwards superintended by LASSURANCE and GABRIEL. The Prince de
Conde having acquired it by purchase, he caused it to be considerably
augmented and embellished, at different times, under the direction of
BARRAU, CARPENTIER and BELISARD.

Had the _Pont de la Concorde_ subsisted previously to the erection of
the _Palais Bourbon_, the principal entrance would, probably, have
been placed towards the river; but it faces the north, and is
preceded by a paltry square, now called _Place du Corps Legislatif_.

In the centre of a peristyle, of the Corinthian order, is the grand
gateway, crowned by a sort of triumphal arch, which is connected, by
a double colonnade, to two handsome pavilions. The lateral buildings
of the outer court, which is two hundred and eighty feet in length,
are decorated with the same order, and a second court of two hundred
and forty feet, includes part of the original palace, which is
constructed in the Italian style.

The principal entrances to the right and left lead to two halls; the
one dedicated to _Peace_; the other, to _Victory_. On the one side,
is a communication to the apartments of the old palace; on the other,
are two spacious rooms. The room to the left, inscribed to _Liberty_,
is intended for petitioners, &c.; that to the right, inscribed to
_Equality_, is appropriated to conferences. Between the halls of
Liberty and Equality, is the hall of the sittings of the Legislative
Body.

The form of this hall is semicircular; the benches, rising gradually
one above the other, as in a Roman amphitheatre, are provided with
backs, and well adapted both for ease and convenience. They are
intersected by passages, which afford to the members the facility of
reaching or quitting their places, without disturbance or confusion.
Every seat is distinguished by a number, so that a deputy can never
be at a loss to find his place. In the centre, is an elevated
rostrum, with a seat for the President, directly under which is the
_tribune_, also elevated, for the orator addressing the assembly. The
tribune is decorated by a bas-relief, in white marble, representing
France writing her constitution, and Fame proclaiming it. The table
for the four secretaries is placed facing the tribune, beneath which
the _huissiers_ take their station. The desk and seat of the
President, formed of solid mahogany, are ornamented with _or moulu_.
The folding doors, which open into the hall, to the right and left of
the President's chair, are also of solid mahogany, embellished in the
same manner. Their frames are of white marble, richly sculptured.
Independently of these doors, there are others, serving as a
communication to the upper-seats, by means of two elegant stone
stair-cases.

In six niches, three on each side of the tribune, are so many statues
of Greek and Roman legislators. On the right, are Lycurgus, Solon,
and Demosthenes: on the left, Brutus, Cato, and Cicero. The inside of
the hall is in stucco, and the upper part is decorated by a colonnade
of the Ionic order. The light proceeds from a cupola, glazed in the
centre, and the remainder of which is divided into small
compartments, each ornamented by an emblematical figure. The floor is
paved with marble, also in compartments, embellished with allegorical
attributes.

Having made you acquainted with the hall of the sittings, I think it
may not be uninteresting to give you an account of the forms observed
in opening the session.

When I arrived, with my friend, at the Palace of the Legislative
Body, most of the members were already assembled in the apartments of
their library. At noon, they thence repaired to the hall, preceded by
the _huissiers_, messengers of state, and secretaries.

The opening of the session was announced by the report of artillery.

The oldest member, in point of years, took the President's chair,
provisionally.

The four youngest members of the assembly were called to the table to
discharge the office of secretaries, also provisionally.

The provisional President then declared, that the members of the
Legislative Body were assembled by virtue of Article XXXIII of the
constitution, for the session of the year X; that, being
provisionally organized, the sitting was opened; and that their names
were going to be called over, for the purpose of ascertaining the
number of members present, and for forming definitive arrangements,
by the nomination of a president and four secretaries.

The names were then called over alphabetically, and, after they were
all gone through, they were recalled.

This ceremony being terminated, four committees, each composed of
four members, whose names were drawn by lot by the President,
proceeded, in presence of the assembly, to scrutinize the ballot.

It thence resulted, that the number of members present was two
hundred and twenty-eight;

That Citizen DUPUIS was elected President by a majority of votes;

That Citizens DUBOSC, BORD, ESTAQUE, and CLAVIER were individually
elected, by a similar majority, to officiate as secretaries.

In consequence. Citizen DUPUIS was proclaimed President, and took the
chair. He then moved the following resolution, which was agreed to:

"The Legislative Body declares, that it is definitely constituted,
and decrees that the present declaration shall be carried to the
Conservative Senate, to the Tribunate, and to the Consuls of the
Republic, by a messenger of State."

The President next addressed the assembly in these words:

"Citizens Legislators,

"After twelve years of a painful and glorious struggle against all
Europe, in order to insure the triumph of the liberty of man and that
of nations, the moment is at length arrived when Peace is on the
point of crowning the efforts of the French people, and securing the
Republic on a foundation never to be shaken. For this peace, which
will unite by the bonds of friendship two great nations, already
connected by esteem, we are indebted to the valour and wisdom of the
heroic pacificator, to the wise administration of the government, to
the bravery of our invincible armies, to the good understanding
subsisting between all the constituted authorities, and, above all,
to that spirit of moderation which has known how to fix limits to
victory itself. The name of peace, so dear to the friend of human
nature, ought to impose silence on all malignant passions, cordially
unite all the children of the same country, and be the signal of
happiness to the present generation, as well as to our posterity.

"How gratifying is it to us, Citizens Legislators, after having
passed through the storms of a long revolution, to have at length
brought safely into port the sacred bark of the Republic, and to
begin this session by the proclamation of peace to the world, as
those who preceded us opened theirs by the proclamation of the Rights
of Man and that of the Republic! To crown this great work, nothing
more remains for us but to make those laws so long expected, which
are to complete social organization, and regulate the interests of
citizens. This code, already prepared by men of consummate prudence,
will, I hope, be soon submitted to your examination and sanction; and
the present session will be the most glorious epoch of our Republic:
for there is nothing more glorious to man than to insure the
happiness of his fellow-creatures, and scatter beforehand the first
seeds of the liberty of the world."

"_L'impression! L'impression!_" was the cry that instantly proceeded
from bench to bench on the close of this speech, which was delivered
in a manner that did honour to the President's feelings. But, though
you have it, as it were, at second-hand, and cannot be struck by
Citizen DUPUIS' manner, I hope you will deem the matter sufficiently
interesting to justify its insertion in this letter.

Three orators, deputed by the government, were next announced, and
introduced in form. They were habited in their dress of Counsellors
of State, that is, a scarlet coat, richly embroidered in shaded silks
of the same colour, over which they wore a tricoloured silk sash.

One of them, having ascended the tribune, and obtained leave to
speak, read an extract from the registers of the Council of State,
dated the 24th of Brumaire, purporting that the First Consul had
nominated the Counsellors of State, REGNIER, BERENGER, and DUMAS to
repair to the present sitting. Citizen REGNIER then addressed the
assembly in the name of the government. He read his speech from a
paper which he held in his hand. It began by announcing the signature
of the preliminaries of peace with England, and informed the
Legislative Body that measures had been taken by the government for
regulating the various branches of the interior administration and of
its intention to submit to them the civil code. It was replete with
language of a conciliating nature, and concluded with a wish that the
most unalterable harmony might subsist between the first authorities
of the State, and strengthen in the mind of the people the confidence
which they already testified.

From the tenour of this speech, I think it may be inferred that the
government is apprehensive of a difference of opinion respecting the
civil code; not so much in this place, for, by the constitution, the
lips of the deputies are sealed, but in the Tribunate, where a warm
discussion may be expected.

The President made a short and apt reply to the orators of the
government, who then retired with the same ceremony with which they
had entered. Both these speeches were ordered to be printed.

The Conservative Senate addressed to the Legislative Body, by a
message read by the President, the different acts emanated from its
authority since the last session. Ordered to be inserted in the
Journals. A few letters were also read by the President from
different members, excusing themselves for non-attendance on account
of indisposition. Several authors having addressed a copy of their
works to the Legislative Body, these presents were accepted, and
ordered to be placed in their library.

The administrative commission of the Legislative Body announced that
the ambassador of the Cisalpine Republic had sent a present of three
hundred medals, struck on occasion of the peace and of the _forum
Bonaparte_, which medals were distributed to the members.

The assembly the broke up, the next sitting being appointed for the
following day at noon.

Lord Cornwallis and suite sat in the box allotted to Foreign
Ministers, facing the President, as did the Marquis de Lucchesini,
the Prussian ambassador, and some others. A small box is likewise
appropriated to reporters, who take down the proceedings. The members
were all habited in their appointed dress, which consists of a dark
blue coat embroidered with gold, blue pantaloons and white waistcoat,
also embroidered, a tricoloured silk sash, worn above the coat, and
ornamented with a rich gold fringe. They wore a plain cocked hat,
with the national cockade, and short boots. This meeting of
legislators, all in the same dress, undoubtedly presents a more
imposing spectacle than such a variegated assemblage as is sometimes
to be seen in our House of Commons.

By the present constitution, you will see that no new law can be
promulgated, unless decreed by the Legislative Body.

The votes in this assembly being taken by ballot, and the laws being
enacted without any discussion, on the part of its members, on the
plans debated before it by the orators of the Tribunate and of the
government, it necessarily follows that the sittings present far less
interest to strangers, than would result from an animated delivery of
the opinion of a few leading orators.

Before I take leave of this palace, I must introduce you into the
suite of rooms formerly distinguished by the appellation of _petits
appartemens du Palais Bourbon_, and which, before the revolution,
constituted one of the curiosities of Paris.

In the distribution of these, BELISARD assembled all the charms of
modern elegance. The vestibule, coloured in French gray, contains, in
the intervals between the doors, figures of Bacchantes, and, in the
ceiling, wreaths of roses and other ornaments painted in imitation of
relief. The eating-room, which comes next, is decorated so as to
represent a verdant bower, the paintings are under mirrors, and
tin-plate, cut out in the Chinese manner, seems to shew light
through the foliage. In two niches, made in the arbour-work, in the
form of porticoes, which Cupids are crowning with garlands, are
placed two statues from the antique, the one representing Venus
_pudica_, and the other, Venus _callypyga_, or _aux belles fesses_:
mirrors, placed in the niches, reflect beauties which the eye could
not discover.

The drawing room, another enchanting place, is of a circular form,
surrounded with Ionic pillars. In the intercolumniations, are arches
lined with mirrors, and ornamented with the most tasteful hangings.
Under each arch is a sopha. The ceiling represents caryatides
supporting a circular gallery, between which are different subjects,
such as the Toilet of Venus, the Departure of Adonis, &c. Every thing
here is gallant and rich; but mark the secret wonder. You pull a
string; the ceiling rises like a cloud, and exhibits to view an
extensive sky, with which it becomes confounded. The music of an
invisible orchestra, placed above the ceiling, used to be heard
through the opening, and produced a charming effect, when
entertainments were given in these apartments.

This is not all. You pull another string; and, by means of concealed
machinery, the aperture of the three casements suddenly becomes
occupied by pannels of mirrors, so that you may here instantly turn
day into night. The bed-chamber, the _boudoir_, the study, &c., are
all decorated in a style equally elegant and tasteful.



LETTER XXIII.

_Paris, November 25, 1801._

Of all the public edifices in this capital, I know of none whose
interior astonishes so much, at first sight, and so justly claims
admiration, especially from those who have a knowledge of
architecture or mechanics, as the

HALLE AU BLE.

This building is destined for the reception of corn and flour: it was
begun in 1762, on the site of the ancient _Hotel de Soissons_, which
was purchased by the city of Paris. In the space of three years, the
hall and the circumjacent houses were finished, under the direction
of the architect, CAMUS DE MEZIERE.

The circular form of this hall, the solidity of its construction, its
insulated position, together with the noble simplicity of its
decoration, perfectly accord with the intention and character of the
object proposed. Twenty-five arches, all of equal size, serve each as
an entrance. On the ground-floor are pillars of the Tuscan order,
supporting vast granaries, the communication to which is by two
stair-cases of well-executed design.

The court is covered by a cupola of one hundred and twenty feet in
diameter, forming a perfect semicircle, whose centre, taken on a
level with the cornice, is forty-four feet from the ground. The dome
of the Pantheon at Rome, which is the largest known, exceeds that of
the _Halle au Ble_ by thirteen feet only. This cupola is entirely
composed of deal boards, a foot in breadth, an inch in thickness, and
about four feet in length. It is divided into twenty-five lateral
openings, which give as many rays of light diverging from the
centre-opening, whose diameter is twenty-four feet. These openings
are all glazed, and the wood-work of the dome is covered with sheets
of tinned copper.

PHILIBERT DE L'ORME, architect to Henry II, was the original author
of this new method of covering domes, though he never carried it into
execution. As a homage for the discovery, MOLINOS and LEGRAND, the
architects of the cupola, have there placed a medallion with his
portrait. It is said that this experiment was deemed so hazardous,
that the builder could find no person bold enough to strike away the
shores, and was under the necessity of performing that task in
person. To him it was not a fearful one; but the workmen,
unacquainted with the principles of this manner of roofing buildings,
were astonished at the stability of the dome, when the shores were
removed.

No place in Paris could well be more convenient for giving a banquet
than the _Halle au Ble_; twelve or fourteen hundred persons might
here be accommodated at table; and little expense would be required
for decoration, as nothing can be more elegant than the cupola
itself.

Several periodical publications give a statement, more or less exact,
of the quantity of flour lodged in this spacious repository, which is
filled and emptied regularly every four or five days. But these
statements present not the real consumption of Paris, since several
bakers draw their supply directly from the farmers of the environs;
and, besides, a great quantity of loaves are brought into the capital
from some villages, famous for making bread, whose inhabitants come
and retail them to the Parisians.

The annual consumption of bread-corn in this capital has, on an
average, been computed at twenty-four millions of bushels. But it is
not the consumption only that it is useful to know: the most material
point to be ascertained, is the method of providing effectually for
it; so that, from a succession of unfavourable harvests, or any other
cause, the regular supplies may not experience even a momentary
interruption. When it is considered that Paris contains eight or nine
hundred thousand of the human race, it is evident that this branch of
administration requires all the vigilance of the government.

Bread is now reckoned enormously dear, nineteen _sous_ for the loaf
of four pounds; but, during the winter of 1794, the Parisians felt
all the horrors of a real famine. Among other articles of the first
necessity, bread was then so scarce, that long ranks of people were
formed at the doors of the bakers' shops, each waiting in turn to
receive a scanty portion of two ounces.

The consumption of flour here is considerably increased by the
immense number of dogs, cats, monkies, parrots, and other birds, kept
by persons of every class, and fed chiefly on bread and biscuit.

No poor devil that has not in his miserable lodging a dog to keep him
company: not being able to find a friend among his own species, he
seeks one in the brute creation. A pauper of this description, who
shared his daily bread with his faithful companion, being urged to
part with an animal that cost him so much to maintain: "Part with
him!" rejoined he; "who then shall I get to love me?"

Near the _Halle au Ble_, stands a large fluted pillar of the Doric
order, which formerly belonged to the _Hotel de Soissons_, and served
as an observatory to Catherine de Medicis. In the inside, is a
winding stair-case, leading to the top, whither that diabolical woman
used frequently to ascend, accompanied by astrologers, and there
perform several mysterious ceremonies, in order to discover futurity
in the stars. She wore on her stomach a skin of parchment, strewn
with figures, letters, and characters of different colours; which
skin she was persuaded had the virtue of insuring her from any
attempt against her person.

Much about that period, 1572, there were reckoned, in Paris alone, no
less than thirty thousand astrologers. At the present day, the
ambulating magicians frequent the _Old Boulevards_, and there tell
fortunes for three or four _sous_; while those persons that value
science according to the price set on it, disdaining these two-penny
conjurers, repair to fortune-tellers of a superior class, who take
from three to six francs, and more, when the opportunity offers. The
TROPHONIUS of Paris is Citizen Martin, who lives at N deg. 1773 _Rue
d'Anjou_: the PHEMONOE is Madame Villeneuve, _Rue de l'Antechrist_.

Formerly, none but courtesans here drew the cards; now, almost every
female, without exception, has recourse to them. Many a fine lady
even conceives herself to be sufficiently mistress of the art to tell
her own fortune; and some think they are so skilled in reading
futurity in the cards, that they dare not venture to draw them for
themselves, for fear of discovering some untoward event.

This rage of astrology and fortune-telling is a disease which
peculiarly affects weak intellects, ruled by ignorance, or afflicted
by adversity. In the future, such persons seek a mitigation of the
present; and the illusive enjoyments of the mind make them almost
forget the real sufferings of the body. According to Pope,

  "Hope springs eternal in the human breast,
  Man never _is_, but always _to be_ blest."

At the foot of the above pillar, the only one of the sort in Paris,
is erected a handsome fountain, which furnishes water from the Seine.
At two-thirds of its height is a dial of a singular kind, which marks
the precise hour at every period of the day, and in all seasons. It
is the invention of Father Pingre, who was a regular canon of St.
Genevieve, and member of the _ci-devant_ Academy of Sciences.

While we are in this quarter, let us avail ourselves of the moment;
and, proceeding from the _Halle au Ble_ along the _Rue Oblin_,
examine the

CHURCH OF SAINT EUSTACHE.

This church, which is one of the most spacious in Paris, is situated
at the north extremity of the _Rue des Prouvaires_, facing the _Rue
du Jour_. It was begun in 1532, but not finished till the year 1642.

Notwithstanding the richness of its architecture, it presents not an
appearance uniformly handsome, on account of the ill-combined mixture
of the Greek and Gothic styles: besides, the pillars are so numerous
in it, that it is necessary to be placed in the nave to view it to
the best advantage.

The new portal of _St. Eustache_, which was constructed in 1754, is
formed of two orders, the Doric and the Ionic, the one above the
other. At each extremity of this portal, rise two insulated towers,
receding from all the projection of the inferior order, and decorated
by Corinthian columns with pilasters, on an attic serving as a socle.
These two towers were to have been crowned by a balustrade; one alone
has been finished.

Several celebrated personages have been interred in this church.
Among them, I shall particularize one only; but that one will long
live in the memory of every convivial British seaman. Who has not
heard the lay which records the defeat of Tourville? Yes--

  He who "on the main triumphant rode
  To meet the gallant Russel in combat o'er the deep;"
  Who "led his noble troops of heroes bold
  To sink the English admiral and his fleet."

Though considered by his countrymen, as one of the most eminent
seamen that France ever produced, and enjoying at the time of his
death the dignity of Marshal, together with that of Vice-admiral of
the kingdom, Tourville never had an epitaph. He died on the 28th of
May 1701, aged 59.

Some of the monuments which existed here have been transferred to the
Museum in the _Rue des Petits Augustins_, where may be seen the
sarcophagus of Colbert, Minister to Lewis XIV, and the medallion of
Cureau de la Chambre, physician to that king, and also his
physiognomist, whom he is said to have constantly consulted in the
selection of his ministers. Among the papers of that physician there
still exists, in an unpublished correspondence with Lewis XIV, this
curious memorandum: "Should I die before his majesty, he would run a
great risk of making, in future, many a bad choice."

It is impossible to enter one of these sanctuaries without reflecting
on the rapid progress of irreligion among a people who, six months
before, were, on their knees, adoring the effigies which, at that
period, they were eager to mutilate and destroy. Iron crows and
sledge-hammers were almost in a state of requisition. In the
beginning, it was a contest who should first aim a blow at the nose
of the Virgin Mary, or break the leg of her son. In one day,
contracts were entered into with masons for defacing images which for
centuries, had been partly concealed under the dusty webs of
generations of spiders.

As for the statues within reach of swords and pikes, it was a
continual scene of amusement to the licentious to knock off the ear
of one angel, and scratch the face of another. Not an epitaph was
left to retrace the patriotic deeds of an upright statesman, or the
more brilliant exploits of a heroic warrior; not a memento, to record
conjugal affection, filial piety, or grateful friendship. The
iconoclasts proceeded not with the impetuous fury of fanatics, but
with the extravagant foolery of atheistical buffoons.

All the gold and silver ornaments disappeared: a great part of them
were dissolved in the crucibles of the mint, after having been
presented as a homage to the Convention, some of whose members danced
the _carmagnole_ with those who presented them at their bar, loaded
on the back of mules and asses, bedecked with all the emblems of
catholic worship; while several of the rubies, emeralds, &c. which
had formerly decorated the glory, beaming round the head of a Christ,
were afterwards seen glittering on the finger of the revolutionary
committee-men.

Chaumette, an attorney, was the man who proclaimed atheism, and his
example had many imitators. It seemed the wish of that impious being
to exile God himself from nature. He it was who imagined those
orgies, termed the festivals of reason. One of the most remarkable of
these festivals was celebrated in this very church of _St. Eustache_.

Although Mademoiselle Maillard, the singing heroine of the French
opera, figured more than once as the goddess of reason, that divinity
was generally personified by some shameless female, who, if not a
notorious prostitute, was frequently little better. Her throne
occupied the place of the altar; her supporters were chiefly drunken
soldiers, smoking their pipe; and before her, were a set of
half-naked vagabonds, singing and dancing the _carmagnole_.

"In this church," says an eye-witness, "the interior of the choir
represented a landscape, decorated with cottages and clumps of trees.
In the distance were mysterious bowers, to which narrow paths led,
through declivities formed of masses of artificial rock.

"The inside of the church presented the spectacle of a large
public-house. Round the choir were arranged tables, loaded with
bottles, sausages, pies, pates, and other viands. On the altars of
the lateral chapels, sacrifices were made to luxury and gluttony;
and the consecrated stones bore the disgusting marks of beastly
intemperance.

"Guests crowded in at all doors: whoever came partook of this
festival: children thrust their hands into the dishes, and helped
themselves out of the bottles, as a sign of liberty; while the speedy
consequences of this freedom became a matter of amusement to grown
persons in a similar state of ebriety. What a deplorable picture of
the people, who blindly obeyed the will of a few factious leaders!

"In other churches, balls were given; and, by way of shutting the
door in the face of modesty, these were continued during the night,
in order that, amidst the confusion of nocturnal revelry, those
desires which had been kindled during the day, might be freely
gratified under the veil of darkness.

"The processions which accompanied these orgies, were no less
attended with every species of atheistical frenzy. After feasting
their eyes with the sacrifice of human victims, the Jacobin faction,
or their satellites, followed the car of their impure goddess: next
came, in another car, a moving orchestra, composed of blind
musicians, a too faithful image of that Reason which was the object
of their adoration."

The state of France, at that period, proves that religion being
detached from social order, there remained a frightful void, Which
nothing could have filled up but its subsequent restoration. Without
religion, men become enemies to each other, criminals by principle,
and bold violators of the laws; force is the only curb that can
restrain them. The inevitable consequence is, that anarchy and rapine
desolate the face of the earth, and reduce it to a heap of misfortune
and ruin.



LETTER XXIV.

_Paris, November 27, 1801._

When we travel back in idea for the last ten years, and pass in
review the internal commotions which have distracted France during
that period, and the external struggle she has had to maintain for
the security of her independence, we cannot refuse our admiration to
the constancy which the French have manifested in forming
institutions for the diffusion of knowledge, and repositories of
objects tending to the advancement of the arts and sciences. In this
respect, if we except the blood-thirsty reign of Robespierre, no
clash of political interests, no change in the form or administration
of the government, has relaxed their ardour, or slackened their
perseverance. Whatever set of men have been in power, the arts and
sciences have experienced almost uninterrupted protection.

In the opinion of the French themselves, the GALLERY OF ANTIQUES, in
the CENTRAL MUSEUM OF THE ARTS, may claim pre-eminence over every
other repository of sculpture; but many persons may, probably, feel a
satisfaction more pure and unadulterated in viewing the

MUSEUM OF FRENCH MONUMENTS.

Here, neither do insignia of triumph call to mind the afflicting
scenes of war, nor do emblems of conquest strike the eye of the
travelled visiter, and damp his enjoyment by blending with it bitter
recollections. Vandalism is the only enemy from whose attacks the
monuments, here assembled, have been rescued.

This Museum, which has, in fact, been formed out of the wrecks of the
revolutionary storm, merits particular attention. Although it was not
open to the public, for the first time, till the 15th of Fructidor,
year III (2nd of September 1795), its origin may be dated from 1790,
when the Constituent Assembly, having decreed the possessions of the
Clergy to be national property, charged the _Committee of Alienation_
to exert their vigilance for the preservation of all the monuments of
the arts, spread throughout the wide extent of the ecclesiastical
domains.

The philanthropic LA ROCHEFOUCAULD, (the last Duke of the family), as
President of that committee, fixed on a number of artists and
literati to select such monuments as the committee were anxious to
preserve. The municipality of Paris, being specially entrusted, by
the National Assembly, with the execution of this decree, also
nominated several literati and artists of acknowledged merit to
co-operate with the former in their researches and labours. Of this
association was formed a commission, called _Commission des
Monumens_. From that epoch, proper places were sought for the
reception of the treasures which it was wished to save from
destruction. The _Committee of Alienation_ appointed the _ci-devant_
monastery of the _Petits Augustins_ for the monuments of sculpture
and pictures, and those of the _Capucins, Grands Jesuites,_ and
_Cordeliers_, for the books and manuscripts.

By these means, the monuments in the suppressed convents and churches
were, by degrees, collected in this monastery, which is situated in
the _Rue des Petits Augustins_, so named after that order of monks,
whose church here was founded, in 1613, by Marguerite de Valois,
first wife of Henry IV.

At the same period, ALEXANDRE LENOIR was appointed, by the
Constituent Assembly, director of this establishment. As I shall have
frequent occasion to mention the name of that estimable artist, I
shall here content myself with observing, that the choice did honour
to their judgment.

In the mean time, under pretext of destroying every emblem of
feudality, the most celebrated master-pieces were consigned to ruin;
but the commission before-mentioned opportunely published
instructions respecting the means of preserving the valuable articles
which they purposed to assemble.

The National Convention also gave indisputable proof of its regard
for the arts, by issuing several decrees in their favour. Its
_Committee of Public Instruction_ created a commission, composed of
distinguished literati and artists of every class, for the purpose of
keeping a watchful eye over the preservation of the monuments of the
arts. The considerable number of memoirs, reports, and addresses,
diffused through the departments by this learned and scientific
association, enlightened the people, and arrested the arm of those
modern Vandals who took a pleasure in mutilating the most admired
statues, tearing or defacing the most valuable pictures, and melting
casts of bronze of the most exquisite beauty.

Among the numerous reports to which these acts of blind ignorance
gave birth, three published by GREGOIRE, ex-bishop of Blois, claim
particular distinction no less on account of the taste and zeal which
they exhibit for the advancement of literature and the fine arts,
than for the invective with which they abound against the madness of
irreligious barbarism. This last stroke, aptly applied, was the means
of recovering many articles of value, and of preserving the monuments
still remaining in the provinces.

In these eventful times, LENOIR, the Conservator of the rising
museum, collected, through his own indefatigable exertions, a
considerable number of mausolea, statues, bas-reliefs, and busts of
every age and description. No sooner did a moment of tranquillity
appear to be reestablished in this country, than he proposed to the
government to place all these monuments in historical and
chronological order, by classing them, according to the age in which
they had been executed, in particular halls or apartments, and giving
to each of these apartments the precise character peculiar to each
century. This plan which, in its aggregate, united the history of the
art and that of France, by means of her monuments, met with general
approbation, and was accordingly adopted by the members of the
government.

Thus, throughout this Museum, the architectural decorations of the
different apartments are of the age to which the monuments of
Sculpture, contained in each, belongs; and the light penetrates
through windows of stained glass, from the designs of RAPHAEL,
PRIMATICCIO, ALBERT DURER, LE SUEUR, &c., the production of the
particular century corresponding to that of the sculpture.

Come then, let us visit this Museum, and endeavour to discriminate
the objects which may be most interesting both to the artist and
historian. We first enter the

ANTI-CHAMBER.

This apartment presents itself to our inquisitive looks, as a Hall of
Introduction, which may not be unaptly compared to the preface of a
grand work. Here we behold a crowd of monuments, arranged
methodically, so as to prepare our eyes for tracing the different
ages through which we have to travel.

We first remark those altars, worn by the hand of Time, on which the
trading Gauls of the ancient _Lutetia_, now Paris, sacrificed to the
gods in the time of Tiberius. Jupiter, Mars, Vulcan, Mercury, Venus,
Pan, Castor and Pollux, and the religious ceremonies here sculptured,
are sufficient to attest that the Parisians were then idolaters, and
followed the religion of the Romans, to whom they were become
tributary. The Inscriptions on each of these monuments, which are
five in number, leave no doubt as to their authenticity, and the
epoch of their erection.

These altars, five in number, are charged with bas-reliefs, and the
first of them is inscribed with the following words in Latin.

  TIB. CAESARE.
  AVG. IOVI OPTVMO
  MAXSVMO (_aram_) M.
  NAVTAE. PARISIACI
  PUBLICE POSIERVNT.

_Tiberius Caesar, having accepted or taken the name of Augustus, the
navigators (Nautae) belonging to the city of Paris, publicly
consecrated this altar to Jupiter the most great and most good._

In 1711, these monuments were dug up from the choir of the cathedral
of _Notre-Dame_, out of the foundations of the ancient church of
Paris, constructed by Childebert, on the ruins of a temple, formerly
dedicated to Isis, which he caused to be demolished. Near them we see
the great goddess of the Germans figure under the name of Nehalennia,
in honour of whom that people had erected a great number of
monuments, some of which were discovered in the year 1646, when the
sea retired from the island of Walcheren.

Capitals, charged with bas-reliefs, taken from a subterraneous
basilic, built by Pepin, have likewise been collected, and follow
those which I have just mentioned. Next comes the tomb of CLOVIS,
which exhibits that prince lying at length; he is humbling himself
before the Almighty, and seems to be asking him forgiveness for his
crimes. We likewise see those of CHILDEBERT and of the cruel
CHILPERIC. The intaglio, relieved by inlaid pieces of Mosaic, of
queen FREDEGOND, has escaped the accidents of twelve centuries. Just
Heaven! what powers have disappeared from the face of the earth since
that period! And to what reflections does not this image, still
existing of that impious woman, give birth in the mind of the
philosopher! CHARLEMAGNE, who was buried at Aix-la-Chapelle, seated
on a throne of gold, appears here, in a haughty attitude, with his
sword in his hand, still to be giving laws to the world!

As might naturally be supposed, most of these figures have suffered
much by the rude attacks of Time; but in spite of his indelible
impression, the unpolished hand of the sculptor is still
distinguishable, and betrays the degraded state of the arts during
the darkness of the middle ages. Let us pass into the

HALL OF THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY.

Here we shall remark arches in the Gothic style, supported by thick
pillars, according to the architecture of that period. Ornaments, in
the form of _culs-de-lampe_, terminate the centre of the arches,
which are painted in azure-blue, and charged with stars. When temples
were begun to be sheltered or covered, nations painted the inside of
the roof in this manner, in order to keep in view the image of the
celestial canopy to which they directed all their affections, and to
preserve the memory of the ancient custom of offering up sacrifices
to the divinity in the open air.

Here the statue of LEWIS IX, surnamed the Saint, is placed near that
of PHILIP, one of his sons, and of CHARLES, his brother, king of
Sicily, branded in history, by having, through his oppression, driven
his subjects into revolt, and caused the massacre of the French in
that island in 1277; a massacre well known by the name of the
_Sicilian vespers_.

It seems that it was the fashion, in those days, for kings themselves
to be bearers at funerals. We are told by St. Foix, that the body of
LEWIS, another son of the Saint, who died in 1662, aged 26, and whose
cenotaph is here, was first carried to St. Denis, and thence to the
abbey of Royaumont, where it was interred. "The greatest lords of the
kingdom," says he, "alternately bore the coffin on their shoulders,
and Henry III; king of England, carried it himself for a considerable
time, as feudatory of the crown."

PHILIP III, too, above-mentioned, having brought to Paris the remains
of his father from Tunis in Africa, carried them barefooted, on his
shoulders, to St. Denis. Wherever he rested by the way, towers were
erected in commemoration of this act of filial piety; but these have
been destroyed since the revolution.

The casements of this hall, in the form of ogives, are ornamented
with stained glass of the first epoch of the invention of that art.
We now come to the

HALL OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY.

This hall shews us the light, yet splendid architecture of the Arabs,
introduced into France in consequence of the Crusades. Here are the
statues of the kings that successively appeared in this age down to
king JOHN, who was taken prisoner by Edward, the black prince, at the
battle of Poietiers. They are clad after the manner of their time,
and lying at length on a stylobate, strewn with flower-de-luces.
Twenty-two knights, each mounted on lions, armed cap-a-pie,
represented of the natural size, and coloured, fill ogive niches
ornamented with Mosaic designs, relieved with gold, red, and blue.

The tombs of CHARLES V, surnamed the _Wise_, and of the worthy
constable, DU GUESCLIN, together with that of SANCERRE, his faithful
friend, rise in the middle of this apartment; which presents to the
eye all the magnificence of a Turkish mosque. After having quitted
it, what a striking contrast do we not remark on entering the

HALL OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY!

Columns, arabesque ceilings charged with gilding, light pieces of
sculpture applied on blue and violet grounds, imitating cameo, china,
or enamel; every thing excites astonishment, and concurs in calling
to mind the first epoch of the regeneration of the arts in this
country.

The ideas of the amateur are enlivened in this brilliant apartment:
they prepare him for the gratification which he is going to
experience at the sight of the beautiful monuments produced by the
age, so renowned of Francis I. There, architecture predominates over
sculpture; here, sculpture over architecture.

The genius of RAPHAEL paved the way to this impulse of regeneration:
he had recently produced the decorations of the Vatican; and the
admirable effect of these master-pieces of art, kindled an enthusiasm
in the mind of the artists, who travelled. On their return to France,
they endeavoured to imitate them: in this attempt, JEAN JUSTE, a
sculptor sent to Rome, at the expense of the Cardinal D'AMBOISE, was
the most succcessful.

First, we behold the mausoleum of LOUIS D'ORLEANS, victim of the
faction of the Duke of Burgundy, and that of his brother CHARLES, the
poet. Near them is that of VALENTINE DE MILAN, the inconsolable wife
of the former, who died through grief the year after she lost her
husband. As an emblem of her affliction, she took for her device a
watering-pot stooped, whence drops kept trickling in the form of
tears. Let it not be imagined, however, that it was on account of his
constancy that this affectionate woman thus bewailed him till she
fell a victim to her sorrow.

LOUIS D'ORLEANS was a great seducer of ladies of the court, and of
the highest rank too, says Brantome. Indeed, historians concur in
stating that to a brilliant understanding, he joined the most
captivating person. We accordingly find that the Dutchess of Burgundy
and several others were by no means cruel to him; and he had been
supping tete-a-tete with Queen Isabeau de Baviere, when, in returning
home, he was assassinated on the twenty-third of November 1407. His
amorous intrigues at last proved fatal to the English, as you will
learn from the following story, related by the same author.

One morning, M. d'Orleans having in bed with him a woman of quality,
whose husband came to pay him an early visit, he concealed the lady's
head, while he exhibited the rest of her person to the contemplation
of the unsuspecting intruder, at the same time forbidding him, as he
valued his life, to remove the sheet from her face. Now, the cream of
the jest was, that, on the following night, the good soul of a
husband, as he lay beside his dear, boasted to her that the Duke of
Orleans had shewn him the most beautiful woman that he had ever seen:
but that for her face he could not tell what to say of it, as it was
concealed under the sheet. "From this little intrigue," adds
Brantome, "sprang that brave and valiant bastard of Orleans, Count
Dunois, the pillar of France, and the scourge of the English."

Here we see the statues of CHARLES VI, and of JANE of Burgundy. The
former being struck by a _coup de soleil_, became deranged in his
intellects and imbecile, after having displayed great genius; he is
represented with a pack of cards in his hand to denote that they were
first invented for that prince's diversion. The latter was Dutchess
of BEAUFORT, wife to the Duke, who commanded the English army against
Charles VII, and as brother to our Henry IV, was appointed regent of
France, during the minority of his nephew, Henry V.

Next come those of RENEE D'ORLEANS, grand-daughter of the intrepid
Dunois; and of PHILIPPE DE COMMINES, celebrated by his memoirs of the
tyrant, LEWIS XI, whose statue faces that of CHARLES VII, his father.

The image of JOAN OF ARC, whom that king had the baseness to suffer
to perish, after she had maintained him on the throne, also figures
in this hall with that of ISABEAU DE BAVIERE. The shameful death of
the Maid of Orleans, who, as every one knows, was, at the instigation
of the English, condemned as a witch, and burnt alive at Rouen on the
30th of May 1430, must inspire with indignation every honest
Englishman who reflects on this event, which will ever be a blot in
the page of our history. Isabeau affords a striking example of the
influence of a queen's morals on the affections of the people. On her
first arrival in Paris, she was crowned by angels, and received from
the burghers the most magnificent and costly presents. At her death,
she was so detested by the nation, that in order to convey her body
privately to St. Denis, it was embarked in a little skiff at
_Port-Landri_, with directions to the waterman to deliver it to the
abbot.

The superb tomb of LEWIS XII, placed in the middle of this apartment,
displays great magnificence; and his statue, lying at length, which
represents him in a state of death, recalls to mind that moment so
grievous to the French people, who exclaimed, in following his
funeral procession to St. Denis, "Our good king Lewis XII is dead,
and we have lost our father."

The historian delights to record a noble trait of that prince's
character. Lewis XII had been taken prisoner at the battle of St.
Aubin by Louis de la Trimouille, who, fearing the resentment of the
new king, and wishing to excuse himself for his conduct, received
this magnanimous reply: "It is not for the king of France to revenge
the quarrels of the duke of Orleans."

The statue of PIERRE DE NAVARRE, son of Charles the _Bad_, seems
placed here to form in the mind of the spectator a contrast between
his father and Lewis XII. The tragical end of Charles is of a nature
to fix attention, and affords an excellent subject for a pencil like
that of Fuseli.

Charles the _Bad_, having fallen into such a state of decay that he
could not make use of his limbs, consulted his physician, who ordered
him to be wrapped up from head to foot, in a linen cloth impregnated
with brandy, so that he might be inclosed in it to the very neck as
in a sack. It was night when this remedy was administered. One of the
female attendants of the palace, charged to sew up the cloth that
contained the patient, having come to the neck, the fixed point where
she was to finish her seam, made a knot according to custom; but as
there was still remaining an end of thread, instead of cutting it as
usual with scissars, she had recourse to the candle, which
immediately set fire to the whole cloth. Being terrified, she ran
away, and abandoned the king, who was thus burnt alive in his own
palace.

What a picture for the moralist is this assemblage of persons,
celebrated either for their errors, crimes, talents, or virtues!



LETTER XXV.

_Paris, November 28, 1801_.

Conceiving how interested you (who are not only a connoisseur, but an
F.A.S.) must feel in contemplating the only repository in the world,
I believe, which contains such a chronological history of the art of
sculpture, I lose no time in conducting you to complete our survey of
the MUSEUM OF FRENCH MONUMENTS in the _Rue des Petits Augustins_.

Having examined those of the fifteenth century, during our former
visit, we are at length arrived at the age of the Fine Arts in
France, and now enter the

HALL OF THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY.

  "But see! each muse in LEO'S golden days,
  Starts from her trance, and trims her wither'd bays;
  Rome's ancient Genius, o'er its ruins spread,
  Shakes off the dust, and rears his reverend head;
  Then Sculpture and her sister arts revive,
  Stones leap'd to form, and rocks began to live."

These beautiful lines of Pope immediately occur to the mind, on
considering that, in Italy, the Great LEO, by the encouragement which
he gave to men of talents, had considerably increased the number of
master-pieces; when the taste for the Fine Arts, after their previous
revival by the Medici, having spread throughout that country, began
to dawn in France about the end of the fifteenth century. By
progressive steps, the efforts made by the French artists to emulate
their masters, attained, towards the middle of the sixteenth century,
a perfection which has since fixed the attention of Europe.

On entering this hall, which is consecrated to that period, the
amateur finds his genius inflamed. What a deep impression does not
the perfection of the numerous monuments which it has produced make
on his imagination! First, he admires the beautiful tomb erected to
the memory of FRANCIS I, the restorer of literature and the arts;
who, by inviting to his court LEONARDO DA VINCI and PRIMATICCIO, and
establishing schools and manufactories, consolidated the great work
of their regeneration.

"Curse the monks!" exclaimed I, on surveying this magnificent
monument, constructed in 1550, from the designs of the celebrated
PHILIBERT DE L'ORME. "Who cannot but regret," continued I to myself,
"that so gallant a knight as Francis I. should fall a victim to that
baneful disease which strikes at the very sources of generation? Who
cannot but feel indignant that so generous a prince, whose first
maxim was, that _true magnanimity consisted in the forgiveness of
injuries, and pusillanimity in the prosecution of revenge_, should
owe his death to the diabolical machinations of a filthy friar?" Yet,
so it was; the circumstances are as follows:

Francis I. was smitten by the charms of the wife of one Lunel, a
dealer in iron. A Spanish chaplain, belonging to the army of the
Emperor Charles V, passing through Paris in order to repair to
Flayers, threw himself in this man's way, and worked on his mind till
he had made him a complete fanatic: "Your king," said the friar,
"protects Lutheranism in Germany, and will soon introduce it into
France. Be revenged on him and your wife, by serving religion.
Communicate to him that disease for which no certain remedy is yet
known."--"And how am I to give it to him?" replied Lunel; "neither I
nor my wife have it."--"But I have," rejoined the monk: "I hold up my
hand and swear it. Introduce me only for one half-hour by night, into
your place, by the side of your faithless fair, and I will answer for
the rest."

The priest having prevailed on Lunel to consent to his scheme, went
to a place where he was sure to catch the infection, and, by means of
Lunel's wife, he communicated it to the king. Being previously in
possession of a secret remedy, the monk cured himself in a short
time; the poor woman died at the expiration of a month; and Francis
I, after having languished for three or four years, at length, in
1547, sunk under the weight of a disorder then generally considered
as incurable.

The tomb of the VALOIS, erected in honour of that family, by
Catherine de Medicis, soon after the death of Henry II, is one of the
masterpieces of GERMAIN PILON. In the execution of this beautiful
monument, that famous artist has found means to combine the
correctness of style of Michael Angelo with the grace of Primaticcio.
To the countenance of HENRY and CATHERINE, who are represented in a
state of death, lying as on a bed, he has imparted an expression of
sensibility truly affecting.

Next comes the tomb of DIANE DE POITIERS, that celebrated beauty, who
displayed equal judgment in the management of State affairs and in
the delicacy of her attachments; who at the age of 40, captivated
king Henry II, when only 18; and, who, though near 60 at the death of
that prince, had never ceased to preserve the same empire over his
heart. At the age of fourteen, she was married to Louis de Breze,
grand seneschal of Normandy, and died in April 1506, aged 66.

Brantome, who saw her not long before her death, when she had just
recovered from the confinement of a broken leg, and had experienced
troubles sufficient to lessen her charms, thus expresses himself:
"Six months ago, when I met her, she was still so beautiful that I
know not any heart of adamant which would not have been moved at the
sight of her."--To give you a perfect idea of her person, take this
laconic description, which is not one of fancy, but collected from
the best historians.

Her jet black hair formed a striking contrast to her lily complexion.
On her cheeks faintly blushed the budding rose. Her teeth vied with
ivory itself in whiteness: in a word, her form was as elegant as her
deportment was graceful.

By way of lesson to the belles of the present day, let them be told
that DIANE DE POITIERS was never ill, nor affected indisposition. In
the severity of the winter, she daily washed her face with
spring-water, and never had recourse to cosmetics.----"What pity,"
says Brantome, "that earth should cover so beautiful a woman!"

No man, indeed, who sympathizes with the foibles of human nature, can
contemplate the tomb of DIANE DE POITIERS, and reflect on her
numerous virtues and attractions, without adopting the sentiments of
Brantome, and feeling his breast glow with admiration.

This extraordinary woman afforded the most signal protection to
literati and men of genius, and was, in fact, no less distinguished
for the qualities of her heart than for the beauty of her person.
"She was extremely good-humoured, charitable, and humane," continues
Brantome "The people of France ought to pray to God that the female
favourite of every chief magistrate of their country may resemble
this amiable frail one."

As a proof of the elevation of her sentiments, I shall conclude by
quoting to you the spirited reply DIANE made to Henry II, who, by
dint of royal authority, wished to legitimate a daughter he had by
her: "I am of a birth," said she, "to have had lawful children by
you. I have been your mistress, because I loved you. I will never
suffer a decree to declare me your concubine."

The beautiful group of the modest Graces, and that representing
Diana, accompanied by her dogs Procion and Syrius, sculptured by Jean
Gougeon, to serve as the decoration of a fountain in the park of
DIANE DE POITIERS at Anet, attracts the attention of the connoisseur.

The tomb of GOUGEON, composed of his own works, and erected to the
memory of that great artist, through gratitude, is, undoubtedly, a
homage which he justly deserved. This French Phidias was a Calvinist,
and one of the numerous victims of St. Bartholomew's day, being shot
on his scaffold, as he was at work on the _Louvre_, the 24th of
August 1572. Here too we behold the statues of BIRAGUE and of the
GONDI, those atrocious wretches who, together with Catherine de
Medicis, plotted that infamous massacre; while CHARLES IX, no less
criminal, here exhibits on his features the stings of a guilty
conscience.

The man that has a taste for learning, gladly turns his eye from this
horde of miscreants, to fix it on the statue of CLAUDE-CATHERINE DE
CLERMONT-TONNERRE, who was so conversant in the dead languages as to
bear away the palm from Birague and Chiveray, in a speech which she
composed and spoke in Latin, at twenty-four hours' notice, in answer
to the ambassadors who tendered the crown of Poland to Charles IX.

If the friend of the arts examine the beautiful portico erected by
Philibert de l'Orme, on the banks of the Eure, for Diane de Poitiers,
composed of the three orders of architecture, placed the one above
the other, and forming altogether an elevation of sixty feet, he will
be amazed to learn that this superb monument constructed at Anet,
twenty leagues distant from Paris, was removed thence, and
re-established in this Museum, by the indefatigable conservator,
LENOIR.

On leaving the apartment containing the master-pieces brought to
light by Francis I, the next we reach is the

HALL OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY.

What a crowd of celebrated men contained in the temple consecrated to
virtue, courage, and talents!

There, I behold TURENNE, CONDE, MONTAUSIER, COLBERT, MOLIERE,
CORNEILLE, LA FONTAINE, RACINE, FENELON, and BOILEAU. The great LEWIS
XIV, placed in the middle of this hall, seems to become still greater
near those immortal geniuses.

Farther on, we see the statue of the implacable RICHELIEU,
represented expiring in the arms of Religion, while Science is
weeping at his feet. Ye Gods! what a prostitution of talent! This is
the master-piece of GIRARDON; but, in point of execution, many
connoisseurs prefer the mausoleum of the crafty MAZARIN, whom
COYZEVOX has pourtrayed in a supplicating posture.

LEWIS XIII, surnamed the _Just_, less great than his illustrious
subject, DE THOU, casts down his eyes in the presence of his
ministers.

The mausolea of LE BRUN, LULLI, and JEROME BIGNON, the honour, the
love, and the example of his age, terminate the series of monuments
of that epoch, still more remarkable for its literati than its
artists. We at last come to the

HALL OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.

Here we admire the statues of MONTESQUIEU, FONTENELLE, VOLTAIRE,
ROUSSEAU, HELVETIUS, CREBILLON, PIRON, &c. &c. The tombs of the
learned MAUPERTUIS and CAYLUS, and also that of Marshal D'HARCOURT,
give a perfect idea of the state of degradation into which the art of
design had fallen at the beginning of this century; but the new
productions which decorate the extremity of this spacious hall are
sufficient to prove to what degree the absolute will of a great
genius can influence the progress of the arts, as well as of the
sciences. VIEN and DAVID appeared, and the art was regenerated.

Here, too, we find a statue, as large as life, representing Christ
leaning on a pillar, executed  by MICHAEL ANGELO STODTZ. I notice
this statue merely to observe, that the original, from which it is
taken, is to be seen at Rome, in the _Chiesa della Minerva_ where it
is held in such extraordinary veneration, that the great toe-nail of
the right foot having been entirely worn away by the repeated kisses
of the faithful, one of silver had been substituted. At length this
second nail having been likewise worn away, a third was placed, of
copper, which is already somewhat worn. It was sculptured by MICHAEL
ANGELO BUONAROTI.

We experience an emotion of regret at the aspect of the handsome
monument by MICHALLON, on learning that it was erected to the memory
of young DROUAIS, a skilful and amiable artist, stopped by death, in
1788, during his brilliant career, at the early age of 24. He has
left behind him three historical pictures, which are so many
master-pieces.

The beautiful statue of the youthful Cyparissus, by CHAUDET, the most
eminent French sculptor, reminds us of the full and elegant form of
the fine Greek Bacchus, which decorates the peristyle of the
antichamber or Hall of Introduction.

Thus the amateur and the student will find, in this Museum, an
uninterrupted chronology of monuments, both antique and modern,
beginning by those of ancient Greece, whose date goes back to two
thousand five hundred years before our era, to examine those of the
Romans, of the Lower Empire, of the Gauls, and thence pass to the
first epoch of the French monarchy, and at length follow all the
gradations through which the art has passed from its cradle to its
decrepitude. The whole of this grand establishment is terminated by a
spacious garden, which is converted into an

ELYSIUM.

There, on a verdant lawn, amid firs, cypresses, poplars, and weeping
willows, repose the ashes of the illustrious poets, MOLIERE, LA
FONTAINE, BOILEAU, &c.; of the learned DESCARTES, MABILLON,
MONTFAUCON, &c., inclosed in sarcophagi; there, they still receive
the homage which mankind owe to talents and virtue.

But hold! mark the sepulchre of the learned and tender HELOISE. Her
remains, though formerly conjoined to those of her lover, were
subsequently separated, and after a lapse of three hundred years,
they are now reassembled.

  Here one kind grave unites their hapless name,
  And grafts her love immortal on his fame.

With a smile seated on her lips, HELOISE seems to be sighing for the
object of her glowing affection: while the unfortunate ABELARD,
coldly reclined, is still commenting on the Trinity. The _Paraclete_,
having been sold and demolished, LENOIR, with all the sensibility of
an admirer of genius, withdrew the bones of ABELARD and HELOISE from
that monastery, and placed them here in a sepulchral chapel, partly
constructed from the remains of their ancient habitation.

Such is the MUSEUM OF FRENCH MONUMENTS. When completed, for some
valuable specimens of the arts slill remain to be added, it will be
one of the most interesting establishments in Paris, and perhaps in
Europe, especially if considered in regard to the improvement of
modern sculpture, and, I may add, architecture. No building can be
better adapted than a monastery for an establishment of this nature.
The solemn gloom of cloisters suits the temper of the mind, when we
reflect on the mortality incident to a succession of ages, and the
melancholy which it inspires, is in perfect unison with our feelings,
when we contemplate the sepulchral monuments that recall to our
memory the actions of the illustrious departed.

This Museum is very extensive, the three courts and large garden,
which at present compose the whole of its premises, occupying a space
of three thousand seven hundred and sixty-two toises. LENOIR,
however, has recently presented to the First Consul a plan for
enlarging it, without any additional expense of building, by adding
to it the neighbouring _Hotel de Bouillon_. He proposes that there
should be a new entrance by the quay, exhibiting a spacious court,
decorated with statues, erected in regular order; and that the
apartments on the ground-floor should be appropriated as follows:

1. To a collection of portraits of all the celebrated men of France.

2. To a chronological series of armour of all ages.

3. To a complete collection of French medals.

4. To a library, solely formed of the books necessary for obtaining a
knowledge of the monuments contained in this Museum.

When I consider the mutilated state in which most of these monuments
were found at the first formation of this interesting establishment,
and view the perfection in which they now appear; when I remark the
taste and judgment displayed in the distribution and interior
arrangement of the different apartments of this rich museum; when I
learn, from the printed documents on the subject, the strict economy
which has been observed in the acquisition or restoration of a great
number of monuments, the more valuable as they illustrate the history
of the arts; I confess that I find myself at a loss which most to
admire in the Conservator, his courage, zeal, perseverance, or
discrimination. Indeed, nothing but an assemblage of those qualities
could have overcome the difficulties and obstacles which he has
surmounted.

I shall add that LENOIR'S obliging disposition and amenity of manners
equally entitle him to the gratitude and esteem of the connoisseur,
the student, or the inquisitive stranger.



LETTER XXVI.

_Paris, December 1, 1801_.

I was highly gratified the other day on finding myself in company
with some of those men whom (to borrow Lord Thurlow's expression, in
speaking of Warren Hastings,) I have known only as I know Alexander,
by the greatness of their exploits; men whose names will be
transmitted to posterity, and shine with distinguished lustre in the
military annals of France.

General A----y had already invited me to dine with him, in order to
meet General B----r; but, on the day fixed, the latter, as minister
for the war department, being under the necessity of entertaining
Lord Cornwallis, the party was postponed till the 8th of Frimaire,
(20th of November), when, in addition to General B----r, General
A----y had assembled at his table several men of note. Among others,
were General M----rd, who commanded the right wing of the army of
Naples under Macdonald, in which he distinguished himself as a brave
soldier; and D----ttes, physician in chief to the army of the East.
This officer of health, as medical men are here denominated, is
lately returned from Egypt, where his skill and attention to his
professional duties gained him universal admiration.

In society so agreeable, time passed away rapidly till General B----r
arrived. It was late, that is about seven o'clock, though the
invitation expressed five precisely, as the hour of dinner. But, in
Paris, a minister is always supposed to be detained on official
business of a nature paramount to every other consideraton. On my
being introduced to General B----r, he immediately entered into
conversation with me concerning Lord Cornwallis, whom he had known in
the American war, having served in the staff of Rochambeau at the
siege of Yorktown. As far back as that period B----r signalized
himself by his skill in military science. It was impossible to
contemplate these distinguished officers without calling to mind how
greatly their country was indebted to the exertion of their talents
on various important occasions. These recollections led me to admire
that wisdom which had placed them in stations for which they had
proved themselves so eminently qualified. In England, places are
generally sought for men; in France, men are sought for places.

At seven, dinner was announced, and an excellent one it was, both in
quality and quantity. _Presto_ was the word, and all the guests
seemed habituated to expedition. The difference between the duration
of such a repast at this day, and what it was before the revolution,
shews how constantly men become the slaves of fashion. Had BONAPARTE
resembled Lucullus in being addicted to the pleasures of the festive
board, I make no doubt that it would have been the height of _ton_ to
sit quietly two or three hours after dinner. But the Chief Consul is
said to be temperate, almost to abstemiousness; he rises from table
in less than half an hour; and that mode is now almost universal in
Paris, especially among the great men in office. Two elegant courses
and a desert were presently dispatched; the whole time employed in
eating I know not how many good dishes, and drinking a variety of
choice wines, not exceeding thirty-five minutes. At the end of the
repast, coffee was presented to the company in an adjoining room,
after which the opera of _Tarare_ was the attraction of the evening.

I have already mentioned to you that General A----y had put into my
hand _L'Histoire du Canal du Midi_, written by himself. From a
perusal of this interesting work, it appears that one of his
ancestors[1] was the first who conceived the idea of that canal,
which was not only planned by him, but entirely completed under his
immediate direction. Having communicated his plan to Riquet, the
latter submited it to Colbert, and, on its being approved by Lewis
XIV, became _contractor_ for all the works of that celebrated
undertaking, which he did not live to see finished. Riquet, however,
not content with having derived from the undertaking every advantage
of honour and emolument, greedily snatched from the original
projector the meed of fame, so dearly earned by the unremitting
labour of thirty successive years. These facts are set forth in the
clearest light in the above-mentioned work, in which I was carefully
examining General A----y's plans for the improvement of this famous
canal, when I was most agreeably interrupted.

I had expressed to the General a wish to know the nature of the
establishment of which he is the director, at the same time apprizing
him that this wish did not extend to any thing that could not with
propriety be made public. He obligingly promised that I should be
gratified, and this morning I received ftom him a very friendly
letter, accompanied by the following account of the

DEPOT DE LA GUERRE.

The general _Depot_ or repository of maps and plans of war, &c, &c,
was established by LOUVOIS, in 1688. This was the celebrated period
when France, having attained the highest degree of splendour, secured
her glory by the results of an administration enlightened in all its
branches.

At the beginning of its institution, the _Depot de la guerre_ was no
more than archives, where were collected, and preserved with order,
the memoirs of the generals, their correspondence, the accounts yet
imperfect, and the traces of anterior military operations.

The numerous resources afforded by this collection alone, the
assistance and advantages derived from it on every occasion, when it
was necessary to investigate a military system, or determine an
important operation, suggested the idea of assembling it under a form
and classification more methodical. Greater attention and exactness
were exerted in enriching the _Depot_ with every thing that might
complete the theoretical works and practical elucidations of all the
branches of the military art,

Marshal DE MAILLEBOIS, who was appointed director of this
establishment in 1730, was one of the first authors of the present
existing order. The classification at first consisted only in forming
registers of the correspondence of the generals, according to date,
distinguishing it by _different wars_. It was divided into two parts,
the former containing the letters of the generals; and the latter,
the minutes or originals of the answers of the king and his
ministers. To each volume was added a summary of the contents, and,
in regular succession, the journal of the military operations of the
year. These volumes, to the number of upwards of two thousand seven
hundred, contain documents from the eleventh century to the close of
the last American war; but the series is perfect only from the year
1631. This was a valuable mine for a historiographer to explore; and,
indeed, it is well known that the _Memoirs of Turenne and of Conde_,
the _History of the war of 1741_, and part of the fragments of the
_Essay on the Manners and History of Nations_, by Voltaire, were
compiled and digested from the original letters and memoirs preserved
in the _Depot de la guerre_.

Geographical engineers did not then exist as a corps. Topography was
practised by insulated officers, impelled thereto by the rather
superficial study of the mathematics and a taste for drawing; because
it was for them a mean of obtaining more advantageous employments in
the staffs of the armies: but the want of a central point, the
difference of systems and methods, not admitting of directing the
operations to one same principle, as well as to one same object,
topography, little encouraged, was making but a slow progress, when
M. DE CHOISEUIL established, as a particular corps, the officers who
had applied themselves to the practice of that science. The _Depot_
was charged to direct and assemble the labours of the new corps. This
authority doubled the utility of the _Depot_: its results had the
most powerful influence during the war from 1757 to 1763.

Lieutenant-General De VAULT, who had succeeded Marshal De MAILLEBOIS
as director of the _Depot de la guerre_, conceived, and executed a
plan, destined to render still more familiar and secure the numerous
documents collected in this establishment. He first retrenched from
the _Military Correspondences and Memoirs_ all tedious repetitions
and unnecessary details; he then classed the remainder under the head
of a different army or operation, without subjecting himself to any
other order than a simple chronology; but he caused each volume to be
preceded by a very succinct, historical summary, in order to enable
the reader to seize the essence of the original memoirs and
documents, the text of which was faithfully copied in the body of
each volume, In this manner did he arrange all the military events
from the German war in 1677 to the peace of 1763. This analysis forms
one hundred and twenty five volumes.

It is easy to conceive how much more interesting these historical
volumes became by the addition, which took place about the same
epoch, of the labours of the geographical engineers employed in the
armies. The military men having it at the same time in his power to
follow the combinations of the generals with the execution of their
plans, imbibes, without difficulty, the principles followed by great
captains, or improves himself from the exact account of the errors
and faults which it is so natural to commit on critical occasions.

When all the establishments of the old _regime_ were tottering, or
threatened by the revolutionary storm, measures were suggested for
preserving the _Depot de la guerre_, and, towards the end of 1791, it
was transferred from Versailles to Paris. Presently the new system of
government, the war declared against the emperor, and the foreseen
conflagration of Europe, concurred to give a new importance to this
establishment. Alone, amidst the general overthrow, it had preserved
a valuable collection of the military and topographical labours of
the monarchy, of manuscripts of the greatest importance, and a body
of information of every kind respecting the resources, and the
country, of the powers already hostile, or on the point of becoming
so. All the utility which might result from the _Depot_ was then
felt, and it was thought necessary to give it a new organization.[2]

The _Depot de la guerre_, however, would have attained but
imperfectly the object of its institution, had there not been added
to its topographical treasure, the richest, as well as the finest,
collection in Europe of every geographical work held in any
estimation. The first epochs of the revolution greatly facilitated
the increase of its riches of that description. The general impulse,
imprinted on the mind of the French nation, prompted every will
towards useful sacrifices. Private cabinets in possession of the
scarcest maps, gave them up to the government, The suppression of the
monasteries and abbeys caused to flow to the centre the geographical
riches which they preserved in an obscurity hurtful to the progress
of that important science: and thus the _Depot de la guerre_ obtained
one of the richest collections in Europe.[3] The government, besides,
completed it by the delivery of the great map of France by CASSINI,
begun in 1750, together with all the materials forming the elements
of that grand work. It is painful to add that not long before that
period (in 1791) the corps of geographical engineers, which alone
could give utility to such valuable materials had been suppressed.[4]

In the mean time, the sudden changes in the administrative system had
dispersed the learned societies employed in astronomy, or the
mathematical sciences. The _National Observatory_ was disused. The
celebrated astronomers attached to it had no rallying point: they
could not devote themselves to their labours but amidst the greatest
difficulties; the salary allowed to them was not paid; the numerous
observations, continued for two centuries, were on the point of being
interrupted.

The _Depot de la guerre_ then became the asylum of those estimable
men. This establishment excited and obtained the reverification of
the measure of an arc of the meridian, in order to serve as a basis
for the uniformity of the weights and measures which the government
wished to establish.

MECHAIN, DELAMBRE, NOUET, TRANCHOT, and PERNY were dispatched to
different places from Barcelona to Dunkirk. After having established
at each extremity of this line a base, measured with the greatest
exactness, they were afterwards to advance their triangles, in order
to ascend to the middle point of the line. This operation, which has
served for rectifying a few errors that the want of perfection in the
instruments had occasioned to be introduced into the measure of the
meridian of CASSINI, may be reckoned one of the most celebrated works
which have distinguished the close of the eighteenth century.

The establishment of the system of administration conformably to the
constitution of the year III (1795) separated the various elements
which the _Depot de la guerre_ had found means to preserve. The
_Board of Longitude_ was established; the _National Institute_ was
formed to supply the place of the _Academy of Sciences_, &c. The
_Depot de la guerre_ was restored solely to its ancient prerogatives.
Two years before, it had been under the necessity of forming new
geographical engineers and it succeeded in carrying the number
sufficiently high to suffice for the wants of the fourteen armies
which France had afterwards on foot.[5] These officers being employed
in the service of the staffs, no important work was undertaken. But,
since the 18th of Brumaire, year VIII, (9th of November, 1799) the
Consuls of the Republic have bestowed particular attention on
geographical and topographical operations. The new limits of the
French territory require that the map of it should be continued; and
the new political system, resulting from the general pacification,
renders necessary the exact knowledge of the states of the allies of
the Republic.

The _Depot de la guerre_ forms various sections of geographers, who
are at present employed in constructing accurate maps of the four
united departments. Piedmont, Savoy, Helvetia, and the part of Italy
comprised between the Adige and the Adda. One section, in conjunction
with the Bavarian engineers, is constructing a topographical map of
Bavaria: another section is carrying into execution the military
surveys, and other topographical labours, ordered by General MOREAU
for the purpose of forming a map of Suabia.

The _Depot_ has just published an excellent map of the Tyrol, reduced
from that of PAYSAN, and to which have been added the observations
made by Chevaliers DUPAY and LA LUCERNE. It has caused to be resumed
the continuation of the superb map of the environs of Versailles,
called _La carte des chasses_, a master-piece of topography and
execution in all the arts relating to that science. Since the year V
(1795), it has also formed a library composed of upwards of eight
thousand volumes or manuscripts, the most rare, as well as the most
esteemed, respecting every branch of the military art in general.

Although, in the preceding account, General A----y, with that modesty
which is the characteristic of a superior mind, has been totally
silent respecting his own indefatigable exertions, I have learned
from the best authority, that France is soon likely to derive very
considerable advantages from the activity and talent introduced by
him, as director, into every branch of the _Depot de la guerre_, and
of which he has afforded in his own person an illustrious example.

In giving an impulse to the interior labours of the _Depot_, the sole
object of General A----y is to make this establishment lose its
_paralyzing_ destination of archives, in which, from time to time,
literati might come to collect information concerning some periods of
national or foreign history. He is of opinion that these materials
ought to be drawn from oblivion, and brought into action by those
very persons who, having the experience of war, are better enabled
than any others to arrange its elements. Instruction and method being
the foundations of a good administration, of the application of an
art and of a science, as well as of their improvement, he has
conceived the idea of uniting in a classical work the exposition of
the knowledge necessary for the direction of the _Depot_, for
geographical engineers, staff-officers, military men in general, and
historians. This, then, is the object of the _Memomorial du Depot de
la guerre_, a periodical work, now in hand, which will become the
guide of every establishment of this nature[6], by directing with
method the various labours used in the application of mathematical
and physical sciences to topography, and to that art which, of all
others, has the greatest influence on the destiny of empires: I mean
the art military. The improvements of which it is still susceptible
will be pointed out in the _Memorial_, and every new idea proposed on
the subject will there be critically investigated.

In transcribing General A----y's sketch of this extremely-interesting
establishment, I cannot but reflect on the striking contrast that it
presents, in point of geographical riches, even half a century ago,
to the disgraceful poverty, in that line, which, about the same
period, prevailed in England, and was severely felt in the planning
of our military expeditions.

I remember to have been told by the late Lord Howe, that, when he was
captain of the Magnanime at Plymouth, and was sent for express to
London, in the year 1757, in order to command the naval part of an
expedition to the coast of France, George II, and the whole cabinet
council, seemed very much astonished at his requiring the production
of a map of that part of the enemy's coast against which the
expedition was intended. Neither in the apartment where the council
sat, nor in any adjoining one, was any such document; even in the
Admiralty-office no other than an indifferent map of the coast could
be found: as for the adjacent country, it was so little known in
England, that, when the British troops landed, their commander was
ignorant of the distance of the neighbouring villages.

Of late years, indeed, we have ordered these matters better; but, to
judge from circumstances, it should seem that we are still extremely
deficient in geographical and topographical knowledge; though we are
not quite so ill informed as in the time of a certain duke, who, when
First Lord of the Treasury, asked in what part of Germany was the
Ohio?

P.S. In order to give you, at one view, a complete idea of the
collections of the _Depot de la guerre_, and of what they have
furnished during the war for the service of the government and of the
armies, I shall end my letter by stating that, independently of eight
thousand chosen volumes, among which is a valuable collection of
atlases, of two thousand seven hundred volumes of old archives, and
of upwards of nine hundred _cartons_ or pasteboard boxes of modern
original documents, the _Depot_ possesses one hundred and thirty-one
volumes and seventy-eight _cartons_ of descriptive memoirs, composed
at least of fifty memoirs each, four thousand seven hundred engraved
maps, of each of which there are from two to twenty-five copies,
exclusively of those printed at the _Depot_, and upwards of seven
thousand four hundred valuable manuscript maps, plans, or drawings of
marches, battles, sieges, &c.

By order of the government, it has furnished, in the course of the
war, seven thousand two hundred and seventy-eight engraved maps, two
hundred and seven manuscript maps or plans, sixty-one atlases of
various parts of the globe, and upwards of six hundred descriptive
memoirs.

[Footnote 1: FRANCOIS ANDREOSSY; who was the great great grandfather
of the present French ambassador at our court.]

[Footnote 2: On the 25th of April, 1792, was published a regulation,
decreed by the king, respecting the general direction of the _Depot
de la guerre_. The annual expense of the establishment, at that time
amounted to 68,000 francs, but the geographical and historical
departments were not filled. _Note of the Author._]

[Footnote 3: An _Agence des cartes_ was appointed, by the National
Assembly, to class these materials, and arrange them in useful
order.]

[Footnote 4: At the juncture alluded to (1793), the want of
geographical engineers having been felt as soon as the armies took
the field, three brigades were formed, each consisting of twelve
persons. The composition of the _Depot de la guerre_, was increased
in proportion to its importance: intelligent officers were placed
there; and no less than thirty-eight persons were employed in the
interior labour, that is, in drawing plans of campaigns, sieges, &c.
_Note of the Author_.]

[Footnote 5: That tempestuous period having dispersed the then
director and his assistants, the _Depot de la guerre_ remained, for
some time, without officers capable of conducting it in a manner
useful to the country. In the mean while, wants were increasing, and
military operations daily becoming more important, when, in 1793,
CARNOT, then a member of the Committee of Public Welfare, formed a
private cabinet of topography, the elements of which he drew from the
_Depot de la guerre_. This was a first impulse given to these
valuable collections. _Note of the Author_.]

[Footnote 6: Prince Charles is employed at Vienna in forming a
collection of books, maps, and military memoirs for the purpose of
establishing a _Depot_ for the instruction of the staff-officers of
the Austrian army. Spain has also begun to organize a system of
military topography in imitation of that of France. Portugal follows
the example. What are we doing in England?]



LETTER XXVII

_Paris, December 3, 1801_.

In this season, when the blasts of November have entirely stripped
the trees of their few remaining leaves, and Winter has assumed his
hoary reign, the garden of the _Tuileries_, loses much of the gaiety
of its attractions. Besides, to frequent that walk, at present, is
like visiting daily one of our theatres, you meet the same faces so
often, that the scene soon becomes monotonous. As well for the sake
of variety as exercise, I therefore now and then direct my steps
along the

BOULEVARDS.

This is the name given to the promenades with which Paris is, in
part, surrounded for an extent of six thousand and eighty-four
toises.

They are distinguished by the names of the _Old_ and the _New_. The
_Old_, or _North Boulevards_, commonly called the _Grands
Boulevards_, were begun in 1536, and, when faced with ditches, which
were to have been dug, they were intended to serve as fortifications
against the English who were ravaging Picardy, and threatening the
capital. Thence, probably, the etymology of their name; _Boulevard_
signifying, as every one knows, a bulwark.

However this may be, the extent of these _Old_ Boulevards is two
thousand four hundred toises from the _Rue de la Concorde_ to the
_Place de la Liberte_, formerly the site of the Bastille. They were
first planted in 1660, and are formed into three alleys by four rows
of trees: the middle alley is appropriated to carriages and persons
on horseback, and the two lateral ones are for foot-passengers.

Here, on each side, is assembled every thing that ingenuity can
imagine for the diversion of the idle stroller, or the recreation of
the man of business. Places of public entertainment, ambulating
musicians, exhibitions of different kinds, temples consecrated to
love or pleasure, Vauxhalls, ball-rooms, magnificent hotels, and
other tasteful buildings, &c. Even the coffee-houses and taverns here
have their shady bowers, and an agreeable orchestra. Thus, you may
always dine in Paris with a band of music to entertain you, without
additional expense.

The _New_ Boulevards, situated to the south, were finished in 1761.
They are three thousand six hundred and eighty-three toises in extent
from the _Observatoire_ to the _Hotel des Invalides_. Although laid
out much in the same manner as the _Old_, there is little resemblance
between them; each having a very distinct appearance.

On the _New Boulevards_, the alleys are both longer and wider, and
the trees are likewise of better growth. There, the prospect is
rural; and the air pure; while cultivated fields, with growing corn,
present themselves to the eye. Towards the town, however, stand
several pretty houses; little theatres even were built, but did not
succeed. This was not their latitude. But some skittle-grounds and
tea-gardens, lately opened, and provided with swings, &c. have
attracted much company of a certain class in the summer.

In this quarter, you seldom meet with a carriage, scarcely ever with
persons sprucely dressed, but frequently with honest citizens,
accompanied by their whole family, as plain in their garb as in their
manners. Lovers too with their mistresses, who seek solitude, visit
this retired walk; and now and then a poor poet comes hither, not to
sharpen his appetite, but to arrange his numbers.

Before, the revolution, the _Old_ Boulevards, from the _Porte St.
Martin_ to the _Theatre Favart_, was the rendezvous of the
_elegantes_, who, on Sundays and Thursdays, used to parade there
slowly, backward and forward, in their carriages, as our belles do in
Hyde Park; with this difference, that, if their admirers did not
accompany them, they generally followed them to interchange
significant glances, or indulge in amorous parley. I understand that
the summer lounge of the modern _elegantes_ has, of late years, been
from the corner of the _Rue Grange Bateliere_ to that of the _Rue
Mont-Blanc_, where the ladies took their seats. This attracting the
_muscadins_ in great numbers, not long since obtained for that part
of the Boulevard the appellation of _Petit Coblentz_.

Nearly about the middle of the North Boulevard stand two edifices,
which owe their erection to the vanity of Lewis XIV. In the
gratification of that passion did the _Grand Monarque_ console
himself for his numerous defeats and disappointments; and the age in
which he lived being fertile in great men, owing, undoubtedly, to the
encouragement he afforded them, his display of it was well seconded
by their superior talents. Previously to his reign, Paris had several
gates, but some of these being taken down, arcs of triumph, in
imitation of those of the Romans, were erected in their stead by
_Louis le Grand_, in commemoration of his exploits. And this too, at
a time when the allies might, in good earnest, have marched to Paris,
had they not, by delay, given Marshal Villars an opportunity of
turning the tide of their victories on the plain of Denain. Such was
the origin of the

PORTE SAINT DENIS.

The magnificence of its architecture classes it among the first
public monuments in Paris. It consists of a triumphal arch, insulated
in the manner of those of the ancients: it is seventy-two feet in
diameter as well as in elevation, and was executed in 1672, by BULLET
from the designs of BLONDEL.

On each side of the principal entrance rise two sculptured pyramids,
charged with trophies of arms, both towards the faubourg, and towards
the city. Underneath each of these pyramids is a small collateral
passage for persons on foot. The arch is ornamented with two
bas-reliefs: the one facing the city represents the passage of
the Rhine; and the other, the capture of Maestricht.

On the frieze on both sides LUDOVICO MAGNO was formerly to be read,
in large characters of gilt bronze. This inscription is removed, and
to it are substituted the word _Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite_.

On arriving from Calais, you enter Paris by the _Porte St. Denis_. It
was also by the _Porte St. Denis_ that kings and queens made their
public entry. On these occasions, the houses in all the streets
through which they passed, were decorated with silk hangings and
tapestry, as far as the cathedral of _Notre-Dame_. Scented waters
perfumed  the air in the form of _jets d'eau_; while wine and milk
flowed from the different public fountains.

Froissard relates that, on the entrance of Isabeau de Baviere, there
was in the _Rue St. Denis_ a representation of a clouded heaven,
thickly sown with stars, whence descended two angels who gently
placed on her head a very rich crown of gold, set with precious
stones, at the same time singing verses in her praise.

It was on this occasion that Charles VI, anxious for a sight of his
intended bride, took a fancy to mix in the crowd, mounted on
horseback behind Savoisi, his favourite. Pushing forward in order to
approach her, he received from the serjeants posted to keep off the
populace several sharp blows on the shoulders, which occasioned great
mirth in the evening, when the circumstance was related before the
queen and her ladies.

Proceeding along the Boulevard towards the east, at a short distance
from the _Porte St. Denis_, you arrive at the

PORTE SAINT MARTIN.

Although this triumphal arch cannot be compared to the preceding in
magnificence, it was nevertheless executed by the same artists,
having been erected in 1674. It is pierced with three openings, the
centre one of which is eighteen feet wide, and the two others nine.
The whole structure, which is fifty-four feet both in height and
breadth, is rusticated, and in the spandles of the arch are four
bas-reliefs; the two towards the city represent the capture of
Besancon, and the rupture of the triple alliance; and those towards
the faubourg, the capture of Lomberg, and the defeat of the Germans
under the emblem of an eagle repulsed by the god of war. These
bas-reliefs are crowned by an entablature of the Doric order,
surmounted by an attic. The _Porte St. Martin_ is the grand
entrance into Paris from all parts of Flanders.

At the west extremity of this _North_ Boulevard, facing the _Rue de
la Concorde_, stands an unfinished church, called _La Magdeleine_,
whose cemetery received not only the bodies of Lewis XVI, his
consort, and his sister, but of the greater part of the victims that
perished by guillotine.

In the space comprised between _La Magdeleine_ and the _Vieille Rue
du Temple_, I speak within compass when I say that there are
sometimes to be seen fifty ambulating conjurers of both sexes. They
all vary the form of their art. Some have tables, surmounted by
flags, bearing mysterious devices; some have wheels, with
compartments adapted to every age and profession--One has a robe
charged with hieroglyphics, and tells you your fortune through a long
tube which conveys the sound to your ear; the other makes you choose
in a parcel, a square piece of white paper, which becomes covered
with characters at the moment when it is thrown into a jug that
appears empty. The secret of this is as follows:

The jug contains a little sulphuret of potash, and the words are
written with acetite of lead. The action of the exterior air, on, the
sulphuret of potash, disengages from it sulphurated hydrogen gas,
which, acting on the oxyd of lead, brings to view the characters that
before were invislble.

Here, the philosophic Parisians stop before the movable stall of an
astrologer, who has surmounted it with an owl, as an emblem of his
magic wisdom. Many of them take this animal for a curiosity imported
from foreign countries; for they are seldom able to distinguish a bat
from a swallow.

"Does that bird come from China, my dear?" says a lusty dame to her
elderly husband, a shopkeeper of the _Rue St. Denis_.--"I don't know,
my love," replies the other.--"What eyes it has got," continues she;
"it must see a great deal better than we." "No;" cries a countryman
standing by; "though its eyes are so big, it can't, in broad day,
tell a cow from a calf."

The lady continues her survey of the scientific repository; and the
conjurer, with an air of importance, proposes to her to draw, for two
_sous_, a motto from Merlin's wheel. "Take one, my dear," says the
husband; "I wish to know whether you love me." The wife blushes and
hesitates; the husband insists; she refuses, and is desirous of
continuing her walk, saying that it is all foolishness.--"What if it
is?" rejoins the husband, "I've paid, so take a motto to please me."
For this once, the lady is quite at a nonplus; she at last consents,
and, with a trembling hand, draws a card from the magic wheel: the
husband unrolls it with eagerness and confidence, and reads these
words: "_My young lover is and will be constant_."--"What the devil
does this mean?" exclaims the old husband; quite disconcerted.
--"'Tis a mistake," says the conjurer; "the lady put her hand into
the wrong box; she drew the motto from the wheel for _young girls_,
instead of that for _married women_. Let _Madame_ draw again, she
shall pay nothing more."--"No, Mr. Conjurer," replies the shopkeeper,
"that's enough. I've no faith in such nonsense; but another time,
madam, take care that you don't put your hand into the wrong box."
The fat lady, with her face as red as fire, follows her husband, who
walks off grumbling, and it is easy to see, by their gestures, that
the fatal motto has sown discord in the family, and confirmed the
shopkeeper's suspicions.

Independently of these divers into futurity, the corners of streets
and walls of public squares, are covered with hand-bills announcing
books containing secrets, sympathetic calculations of numbers in the
lottery, the explanation of dreams in regard to those numbers,
together with the different manners of telling fortunes, and
interpreting prognostics.

At all times, the marvellous has prevailed over simple truth, and the
Cumaean Sibyl attracted the inquisitive in greater crowds than
Socrates, Plato, or any philosopher, had pupils in the whole course
of their existence.

In Paris, the sciences are really making a rapid progress,
notwithstanding the fooleries of the pseudo-philosophers, who parade
the streets, and here, on the _Boulevards_, as well as in other parts
of the town, exhibit lessons of physics.

One has an electrifying machine, and phials filled with phosphorus:
for two _sous_, he gives you a slight shock, and makes you a present
of a small phial.

Farther on, you meet with a _camera obscura_, whose effect surprises
the spectators the more, as the objects represented within it have
the motion which they do not find in common optics.

There, you see a double refracting telescope: for two _sous_, you
enjoy its effect. At either end, you place any object whatever, and
though a hat, a board, or a child be introduced between the two
glasses, the object placed appears not, on that account, the less
clear and distinct to the eye of the person looking through the
opposite glass. _Pierre_ has seen, and cannot believe his eyes:
_Jacques_ wishes to see, and, on seeing, is in ecstacy: next comes
_Fanchon_, who remains stupified. Enthusiasm becomes general, and the
witnesses of their delirium are ready to go mad at not having two
_sous_ in their pocket.

Another fellow, in short, has a microscope, of which he extols the
beauty, and, above all, the effects: he will not describe the causes
which produce them, because he is unacquainted with them; but,
provided he adapts his lessons to the understanding of those who
listen to him, this is all he wants. Sometimes he may be heard to say
to the people about him: "Gentlemen, give me a creeping insect, and
for one _sou_, I will shew it to you as big as my fist." Sometimes
too, unfortunately for him, the insect which he requires is more
easily found among part of his auditors, than the money.

P.S. For the preceding account of the Parisian conjurers I am
indebted to M. Pujoulx.



LETTER XXVIII.

_Paris, December 4, 1802_.

In one of your former letters you questioned me on a subject, which,
though it had not escaped my notice, I was desirous to avoid, till I
should be able to obtain on it some precise information. This I have
done; and I hasten to present you with the following sketch, which
will afford you a tolerably-correct idea of the

FRENCH FUNDS, AND NATIONAL DEBT.

The booked or consolidated debt is called

TIERS CONSOLIDE,

from its being the consolidated third of the national debt, of which
the remaining two-thirds were reimbursed in _Bons de deux Tiers_ in
1797 and 98. It bears interest at five per Cent. payable half yearly
at the _Banque de France_. The payment of the interest is at present
six months in arrear. But the intention of the government is, by
paying off in specie the interest of one whole year, to pay in future
as soon as due.

The days of payment are the 1st of Germinal (23d of March) and the
1st of Vendemiaire (23d of September).

This stock purchased at the present price of from 55 to 60 would
produce from eight to nine per cent. The general opinion is, that it
will rise to 80; and as it is the chief stock, and the standard of
the national credit, it is the interest, and must be the constant
object of the government to keep up its price.

There is a _Caisse d'amortissement_ or Sinking Fund, for the special
purpose of paying off this stock, the effect of which, though not
exactly known, must shortly be very considerable. The _Tiers
Consolide_ is saleable and transferable at a moment's warning, and at
a trifling expense. It is not subject to taxation, nor open to
attachments, either on the principal or interest.

For purchasing, no sort of formality is required; but for receiving
interest, or selling, it is necessary to produce a power of attorney.
An established rule is, that the seller always retains his right to
half a year's interest at the succeeding stated period of payment, so
that he who purchases in the interval between March and September, is
entitled to the interest commencing from the 23d of the latter month
only; and he who buys between September and March, receives not his
first dividend till the 23d of the following September.

TIERS PROVISOIRE.

This is the debt, yet unbooked, which is composed of the provisional
claims of the creditors of the emigrants, the contractors, and
various other holders of claims on the government.

The _Tiers Provisoire_ is to be booked before the 1st of Vendemiaire,
year XII of the Republic (23d of September, 1803), and will from that
day bear interest of five per cent; so that, setting aside the danger
of any retrospect in the interval, and that of any other change, it
is at the present price, of from 15 to 50, cheaper than the _Tiers
Consolide_ to which, in about eighteen months, it will, in every
respect, be assimilated.

BONS DE DEUX TIERS,

Is paper issued for the purpose of reimbursing the reduced two-thirds
of the National Debt, and in the origin rendered applicable to the
purchase of national houses and estates in the French Colonies, since
ordered to be funded at five per cent; so that the price of this
species of paper is entirely subordinate to that of the _Tiers
Consolide_ and supposing that to be 60 francs per cent, the _Bon de
deux Tiers_ would be worth 3 francs. There are no hopes, however
distant, that the government will ever restore the _Bons de deux
Tiers_ to their original value.

BONS DE TROIS QUARTS,

So called from having been issued for the purpose of reimbursing the
three-fourths of the interest of the fifth and sixth years of the
Republic (1797 to 1798). They are, in all respects, assimilated to
the preceding stock.

COUPONS D'EMPRUNT FORCE.

These are the receipts given by the government to the persons who
contributed to the various forced loans. This paper is likewise
assimilated to the two last-mentioned species, with this difference,
that it is generally considered as a less sacred claim, and is
therefore liquidated with greater difficulty. The holders of these
three claims are hastening the liquidation and consolidation of them,
and they are evidently right in so doing.

QUARTS AU NOM ET QUART NUMERAIRE.


This paper is thus denominated from its having been issued for the
purpose of reimbursing the fourth of the dividend of the fifth and
sixth years of the Republic (1797 to 1798). It is generally thought
that this very sacred claim on the government will be funded _in
toto_.

RACHATS DE RENTE,

Is the name given to the redemption of perpetual annuities due by
individuals to the government, on a privileged mortgage on landed
estates; the said annuities having been issued by the government in
times of great distress, for the purpose of supplying immediate and
urgent events.

This paper is not only a mere government security, but is also
specially mortgaged on the estates of the person who owes the annuity
to the government, and who is, at any time, at liberty to redeem it
at from twenty to twenty-five years purchase. Claims of this
description, mortgaged on most desirable estates near the metropolis,
might be obtained for less than 60 per cent; which, at the interest
of five per cent, and with the additional advantage, in some
instances, of the arrears of one or two years, would produce between
eight and nine per cent.

Next to the _Tiers Consolide_, _Rachats de Rente_ are particularly
worthy of attention; indeed, this debt is of so secure and sacred a
nature, that the government has appropriated a considerable part of
it to the special purpose and service of the hospitals and schools;
two species of institutions which ought ever to be sheltered from all
vicissitudes, and which, whatever may be the form or character of the
government, must be supported and respected.

ACTIONS DE LA BANQUE DE FRANCE.

These are shares in the National Bank of France, which are limited to
the number of thirty thousand, and were originally worth one thousand
francs each; they therefore form a capital of 30,000,000 francs, or
L1,250,000 sterling, and afford as follows:

1. A dividend which at present, and since the foundation, has
averaged from eight to ten per cent, arising from the profits on
discount.

2. A profit of from four to five per cent more on the discount of
paper, which every holder of an _action_ or share effects at the
Bank, at the rate of one-half per cent per month, or six per cent for
the whole year.

The present price of an _action_ is about twelve hundred francs,
which may be considered as producing:

80 francs; dividend paid by the Bank on each share.

30 francs; certain profits according to the present discount of
bills.

110 francs; per share 10-10/11 per cent.

_Actions de la Banque de France_, though subject, in common with all
stocks, to the influence of the government, are, however, far more
independent of it than any other, and are the more secure, as the
National Bank is not only composed of all the first bankers, but also
supported by the principal merchants in the country. This investment
is at present very beneficial, and certainly promises great eventual
advantages. The dividends are paid in two half-yearly instalments.

ACTIONS DE LA CAISSE DE COMMERCE,
ET
ACTIONS DU COMPTOIR COMMERCIAL.

The _Caisse de Commerce_ and the _Comptoir Commercial_ are two
establishments on the same plan, and affording, as nearly as
possible, the same advantages as the _Banque de France_: the
only difference is as follows:

1. These last two are, as far as any commercial establishment can be,
independent of the government, and are more so than the _Banque de
France_, as the _actions_ or shares are not considered as being a
public fund.

2. The _Actions de la Caisse de Commerce_ limited in number to two
thousand four hundred, originally cost 5000 francs, and are now worth
6000. The holder of each _action_ moreover, signs circulating notes
to the amount of five thousand francs, which form the paper currency
of the Bank, and for the payment of which the said holder would be
responsible, were the Bank to stop payment.

3. The _Actions du Comptoir Commercial_ are still issued by the
administrators of the establishment. The number of _actions_ is not
as yet limited: the price of each _action_ is fifteen hundred francs
(_circa_ L60 sterling), and the plan and advantages are almost
entirely similar to those of the two last-mentioned institutions.

The _Banque de France_ the _Caisse de Commerce_, and the _Comptoir
Commercial_, discount three times a week. The first, the paper of the
banking-houses and the principal commercial houses holding
bank-stock; the second, the paper of the wholesale merchants of every
class; and the third, the paper of retailers of all descriptions; and
in a circulation which amounts to 100 millions of francs (_circa_ 4
millions sterling) per month, there have not, it is said, been seen,
in the course of the last month, protests to the amount of 20,000
francs.

BONS DE L'AN VII ET DE L'AN VIII.

Is a denomination applied to paper, issued for the purpose of paying
the dividend of the debt during the seventh and eighth years of the
Republic.

These _Bons_ are no further deserving of notice than as they still
form a part of the floating debt, and are an article of the supposed
liquidation at the conclusion of the present summary. It is therefore
unnecessary to say more of them.

ARRERAGES DES ANNEES V ET VI.

These are the arrears due to such holders of stock as, during the
fifth and sixth years of the Republic, had not their dividend paid in
_Bons de trois Quarts_ and _Quart Numeraire_, mentioned in Art. IV
and VI of this sketch. I also notice them as forming an essential
part of the above-mentioned supposed liquidation, at the end of the
sketch, and shall only add that it is the general opinion that they
will be funded.

To the preceding principal investments and claims on the government,
might be added the following:

  _Coupes de Bois.
  Cedules Hypothecaires.
  Rescriptions de Domaines Nationaux.
  Actions de la Caisse des Rentiers.
  Actions des Indes.
  Bons de Moines et Religieuses.
  Obligations de Receveur._

However, they are almost entirely unworthy of attention, and afford
but occasionally openings for speculation. Of the last, (_Obligations
de Receveur_) it may be necessary to observe that they are monthy
acceptances issued by the Receivers-General of all the departments,
which the government has given to the five bankers, charged with
supplying money for the current service, as security for their
advances, and which are commonly discounted at from 7/8 to one per
cent per month.

I shall terminate this concise, though accurate sketch of the French
funds by a general statement of the National Debt, and by an account
of an annuity supposed to be held by a foreigner before the
revolution, and which, to become _Tiers Consolide_, must undergo the
regular process of reduction and liquidation.


_National Debt_.

                                                       _Francs._

  Consolidated Stock (_Tiers Consolide_)              38,750,000
  Floating Debt, to be consolidated, about            23,000,000
  Life Annuities                                      20,000,000
  Ecclesiastical, Military, and other Pensions        19,000,000
                                                     -----------
                                                     100,750,000

  The value of a _franc_ is something more
  than 10_d_. English money: according to
  which calculation, the National Debt of
  France is in round numbers no more than             L4,000,000

Supposed liquidation of an annuity of L100. sterling, or 2,400
_livres tournois_ held by a foreigner before the war and yet
unliquidated.

                                                      _Francs._
  Original Annuity                                        2,400
  _Tiers Consolide
  Bons de deux Tiers_                                     2,400

The actual value of the whole, including the arreared dividends up to
the present day is as follows:

                                                      _Francs._
  _Tiers Consolide_ as above,
       800 francs sold at 60 francs                       9,600
  _Bons de deux Tiers_, ditto
      1600 francs sold at 3 francs                           48


Arrears from the first year of the Republic to the fifth ditto (23d
of September, 1792 to the 23d of September, 1797) are to be paid in
Assignats, and are of no value.

  Arrears of the fifth and sixth years supposed to
    be liquidated so as to afford 25 per cent of
    their nominal value, about                              600
  Arrears in _Bons_ for the year VII, valued at 50
    per cent loss                                           400
  Arrears of the year VIII, due in _Bons_, valued
    at 25 per cent loss                                     600
  Arrears of the year IX, due in specie                     600
  Arrears of the year X, of which three months
    are nearly elapsed                                      200
                                                          -----
  Total of the principal and interest of an original
    annuity of 2,400 livres, reduced (according
    to law) to 800                                       12,248
  Or in sterling, _circa_                                  L500
                                                         ------

I had almost forgot that you have asked me more than once for an
explanation of the exact value of a modern franc. The following you
may depend on as correct.

The _unite monetaire_ is a piece of silver of the weight of five
_grammes_, containing a tenth of alloy and nine tenths of pure
silver. It is called _Franc_, and is subdivided into _Decimes_, and
_Centimes_: its value is to that of the old _livre tournois_ in the
proportion of 81 to 80.

                                    _Value in livres tournois._
                                             liv. sous. deniers.
             Franc                            1     0      3
             Decime                                 2      0.3
             Centime                                       2.43



LETTER XXIX.

_Paris, December 7, 1801_.

At the grand monthly parade of the 15th of last Brumaire, I had seen
the First Consul chiefly on horseback: on which account, I determined
to avail myself of that of the 15th of the present month of Frimaire,
in order to obtain a nearer view of his person. On these occasions,
none but officers in complete uniform are admitted into the palace of
the _Tuileries_, unless provided with tickets, which are distributed
to a certain number at the discretion of the governor. General A----y
sent me tickets by ten o'clock this morning, and about half after
eleven, I repaired to the palace.

On reaching the vestibule from the garden of the _Tuileries_, you
ascend the grand stair-case to the left, which conducts you to the
guard-room above it in the centre pavilion. Hence you enter the
apartments of the Chief Consul.

On the days of the grand parade, the first room is destined for
officers as low as the rank of captain, and persons admitted with
tickets; the second, for field-officers; the third, for generals; and
the fourth, for councellors of state, and the diplomatic corps. To
the east, the windows of these apartments command the court-yard
where the troops are assembled; while to the west, they afford a fine
view of the garden of the _Tuileries_ and the avenue leading to the
_Barriere de Chaillot_. In the first-room, those windows which
overlook the parade were occupied by persons standing five or six in
depth, some of whom, as I was informed, had been patient enough to
retain their places for the space of two or three hours, and among
them were a few ladies. Here, a sort of lane was formed from door to
door by some grenadiers of the consular guard. I found both sides of
this lane so much crowded, that I readily accepted the invitation of
a _chef de brigade_ of my acquaintance to accompany him into the
second room; this, he observed, was no more than a privilege to which
I was entitled. This room was also crowded; but it exhibited a most
brilliant _coup d'oeil_ from the great variety and richness of the
uniforms of the field-officers here assembled, by which mine was
entirely eclipsed. The lace or embroidery is not merely confined to
the coats, jackets, and pantaloons, but extends to the sword belts,
and even to the boots, which are universally worn by the military.
Indeed, all the foreign ambassadors admit that none of the levees of
the European courts can vie in splendour with those of the Chief
Consul.

My first care on entering this room, was to place myself in a
situation which might afford me an uninterrupted view of BONAPARTE.
About twenty-five minutes past twelve, his sortie was announced by a
_huissier_. Immediately after, he came out of the inner apartment,
attended by several officers of rank, and, traversing all the other
rooms with a quick step, proceeded, uncovered, to the parade, the
order of which I have described to you in a former letter. On the
present occasion, however, it lasted longer on account of the
distribution of arms of honour, which the First Consul presents with
his own hand to those heroes who have signalized themselves in
fighting their country's battles.

This part of the ceremony, which was all that I saw of the parade
yesterday, naturally revived in my mind the following question, so
often agitated: "Are the military successes of the French the
consequences of a new system of operations and new tactics, or merely
the effect of the blind courage of a mass of men, led on by chiefs
whose resolutions were decided by presence of mind alone and
circumstances?"

The latter method of explaining their victories has been frequently
adopted, and the French generals have been reproached with lavishing
the lives of thousands for the sake of gaining unimportant
advantages, or repairing inconsiderable faults.

Sometimes, indeed, it should seem that a murderous obstinacy has
obtained them successes to which prudence had not paved the way; but,
certainly, the French can boast, too, of memorable days when talent
had traced the road to courage, when vast plans combined with
judgment, have been followed with perseverance, when resources have
been found in those awful moments in which Victory, hovering over a
field of carnage, leaves the issue of the conflict doubtful, till a
sudden thought, a ray of genius, inclines her in favour of the
general, thus inspired, and then art may be said to triumph over art,
and valour over valour.

And whence came most of these generals who have shewn this
inspiration, if I may so term it? Some, as is well known, emerged
from the schools of jurisprudence; some, from the studies of the
arts; and others, from the counting-houses of commerce, as well as
from the lowest ranks of the army. Previously to the revolution it
was not admitted, in this country at least, that such sources could
furnish men fit to be one day the arbiters of battles and of the fate
of empires. Till that period, all those Frenchmen who had
distinguished themselves in the field, had devoted themselves from
their infancy to the profession of arms, were born near the throne of
which they constituted the lustre, or in that cast who arrogated to
themselves the exclusive right of defending their country. The glory
of the soldier was not considered; and a private must have been more
than a hero to be as much remarked as a second lieutenant.

Men of reflection, seeing the old tactics fail against successful
essays, against enthusiasm whose effects are incalculable, studied
whether new ideas did not direct some new means; for it would have
been no less absurd to grant all to valour than to attribute all to
art. But to return to the main subject of my letter.

In about three quarters of an hour, BONAPARTE came back from the
parade, with the same suite as before, that is, preceded by his
aides-de-camp, and followed by the generals and field-officers of the
consular guard, the governor of the palace, the general commanding
the first military division, and him at the head of the garrison of
Paris. For my part, I scarcely saw any one but himself; BONAPARTE
alone absorbed my whole attention.

A circumstance occurred which gave me an opportunity of observing the
Chief Consul with critical minuteness. I had left the second room,
and taken my station in front of the row of gazers, close to the
folding-doors which opened into the first room, in order to see him
receive petitions and memorials. There was no occasion for BONAPARTE
to cast his eyes from side to side, like the _Grand Monarque_ coming
from mass, by way of inviting petitioners to approach him. They
presented themselves in such numbers that, after he put his hat under
his arm, both his hands were full in a moment. To enable him to
receive other petitions, he was under the necessity of delivering the
first two handfuls to his aides-de-camp. I should like to learn what
becomes of all these papers, and whether he locks them up in a little
desk of which he alone has the key, as was the practice of Lewis XIV.

When BONAPARTE approached the door of the second room, he was
effectually impeded in his progress by a lady, dressed in white, who,
throwing herself at his feet, gracefully presented to him a memorial,
which he received with much apparent courtesy; but still seemed, by
his manner, desirous to pass forward. However, the crowd was so
considerable and so intent on viewing this scene, that the
grenadiers, posted near the spot where it took place, were obliged to
use some degree of violence before they could succeed in clearing a
passage.

Of all the portraits which you and I have seen of BONAPARTE in
England, that painted by Masquerier, and exhibited in Piccadilly,
presents the greatest resemblance. But for his side-face, you may,
for twelve _sous_, here procure a perfect likeness of it at almost
every stall in the street. In short, his features are such as may, in
my opinion, be easily copied by any artist of moderate abilities.
However incompetent I may be to the task, I shall, as you desire it,
attempt to _sketch_ his person; though I doubt not that any French
_commis_, in the habit of describing people by words, might do it
greater justice.

BONAPARTE is rather below the middle size, somewhat inclined to
stoop, and thin in person; but, though of a slight make, he appears
to be muscular, and capable of fatigue; his forehead is broad, and
shaded by dark brown hair, which is cut short behind; his eyes, of
the same colour, are full, quick, and prominent; his nose is
aquiline; his chin, protuberant and pointed; his complexion, of a
yellow hue; and his cheeks, hollow. His countenance, which is of a
melancholy cast, expresses much sagacity and reflection: his manner
is grave and deliberate, but at the same time open. On the whole, his
aspect announces him to be of a temperate and phlegmatic disposition;
but warm and tenacious in the pursuit of his object, and impatient of
contradiction. Such, at least, is the judgment which I should form of
BONAPARTE from his external appearance.

While I was surveying this man of universal talent, my fancy was not
idle. First, I beheld him, flushed with ardour, directing the assault
of the _tete-de-pont_ at _Lodi_; next dictating a proclamation to the
Beys at _Cairo_, and styling himself the friend of the faithful; then
combating the ebullition of his rage on being foiled in the storming
of _Acre_ I afterwards imagined I saw him like another CROMWELL,
expelling the Council of Five Hundred at _St. Cloud_, and seizing on
the reins of government: when established in power, I viewed him,
like HANNIBAL, crossing the _Alps_, and forcing victory to yield to
him the hard-contested palm at _Marengo_; lastly, he appeared to my
imagination in the act of giving the fraternal embrace to Caprara,
the Pope's legate, and at the same time holding out to the see of
Rome the re-establishment of catholicism in France.

Voltaire says that "no man ever was a hero in the eyes of his
_valet-de-chambre_." I am curious to know whether the valet of the
First Consul be an exception to this maxim. As to BONAPARTE'S public
character, numerous, indeed, are the constructions put on it by the
voice of rumour: some ascribe to him one great man of antiquity as a
model; some, another; but many compare him, in certain respects, to
JULIUS CAESAR, as imitators generally succeed better in copying the
failings than the good qualities of their archetypes, let us hope,
supposing this comparison to be a just one, that the Chief Consul
will, in one particular, never lose sight of the generous clemency of
that illustrious Roman--who, if any spoke bitterly against him,
deemed it sufficient to complain of the circumstance publicly, in
order to prevent them from persevering in the use of such language.
"_Acerbe loquentibus satis habuit pro concione denunciare, ne
perseverarent._"

"The character of a great man," says a French political writer, who
denies the justness of this comparison, "like the celebrated picture
of Zeuxis, can be formed only of a multitude of imitations, and it is
as little possible for the observer to find for him a single model in
history, as it was for the painter of Heraclea to discover in nature
that of the ideal beauty he was desirous of representing[1]."--"The
French revolution," observes the same author, a little farther on,
"has, perhaps, produced more than one CAESAR, or one CROMWELL; but
they have disappeared before they have had it in their power to give
full scope to their ambition[2]." Time will decide on the truth and
impartiality of these observations of M. HAUTERIVE.

As at the last monthly parade, BONAPARTE was habited in the consular
dress, that is, a coat of scarlet velvet, embroidered with gold: he
wore jockey boots, carelessly drawn over white cotton pantaloons, and
held in his hand a cocked hat, with the national cockade only. I say
only, because all the generals wear hats trimmed with a splendid
lace, and decorated with a large, branching, tricoloured feather.

After the parade, the following, I understand, is the _etiquette_
usually observed in the palace. The Chief Consul first gives audience
to the general-officers, next to the field-officers, to those
belonging to the garrison, and to a few petitioners. He then returns
to the fourth apartment, where the counsellors of state assemble.
Being arrived there, notice is sent to the diplomatic corps, who meet
in a room on the ground-floor of the palace, called _La Salle des
Ambassadeurs_. They immediately repair to the levee-room, and, after
paying their personal respects to the First Consul, they each
introduce to him such persons, belonging to their respective nations,
as they may think proper. Several were this day presented by the
Imperial, Russian, and Danish ambassadors: the British minister, Mr.
Jackson, has not yet presented any of his countrymen nor will he, in
all probability, as he is merely a _locum tenens_. After the levee,
the Chief Consul generally gives a dinner of from one hundred and
fifty to two hundred covers, to which all those who have received
arms of honour, are invited.

Before I left the palace, I observed the lady above-mentioned, who
had presented the memorial, seated in one corner of the room, all in
tears, and betraying every mark of anxious grief: she was pale, and
with her hair dishevelled; but, though by no means handsome, her
distressed situation excited a lively interest in her favour. On
inquiry, I was informed that it was Madame Bourmont, the wife of a
Vendean chief, condemned to perpetual imprisonment for a breach of
the convention into which he had jointly entered with the agents of
the French government.

Having now accomplished my object, when the crowd was somewhat
dispersed, I retired to enjoy the fine weather by a walk in the

CHAMPS ELYSEES.

After traversing the garden of the _Tuileries_ and the _Place de la
Concorde_, from east to west, you arrive at this fashionable summer
promenade. It is planted with trees in quincunx; and although, in
particular points of view, this gives it a symmetrical air; yet, in
others, the hand of art is sufficiently concealed to deceive the eye
by a representation of the irregular beauties of nature. The French,
in general, admire the plan of the garden of the _Tuileries_, and
think the distribution tasteful; but, when the trees are in leaf, all
prefer the _Champs Elysees_, as being more rural and more inviting.
This spot, which is very extensive, as you may see by the Plan of
Paris, has frequently been chosen for the scene of national fetes,
for which it is, in many respects, better calculated than the _Champ
de Mars_. However, from its proximity to the great road, the foliage
is imbrowned by the dust, and an idea of aridity intrudes itself on
the imagination from the total absence of water. The sight of that
refreshing element recreates the mind, and communicates a powerful
attraction even to a wilderness.

In fact, at this season of the year, the _Champs Elysees_ resemble a
desert; but, in summer, they present one of the most agreeable scenes
that can be imagined. In temporary buildings, of a tasteful
construction, you then find here _restaurateurs_, &c, where all sorts
of refreshments may be procured, and rooms where "the merry dance" is
kept up with no common spirit. Swings and roundabouts are also
erected, as well as different machines for exercising the address of
those who are fond of running at a ring, and other sports. Between
the road leading to _l'Etoile_, the _Bois de Boulogne_, &c, and that
which skirts the Seine, formerly called the _Cours de la Reine_, is a
large piece of turf, where, in fine weather, and especially on
Sundays, the Parisian youths amuse themselves at foot-ball,
prison-bars, and long tennis. Here, too, boys and girls assemble,
and improve their growth and vigour by dancing, and a variety of
healthful diversions; while their relations and friends, seated on
the grass, enjoy this interesting sight, and form around each group a
circle which is presently increased by numbers of admiring
spectators.

Under the shade of the trees, on the right hand, as you face the
west, an immense concourse of both sexes and all ages is at the same
time collected. Those who prefer sitting to walking occupy three long
rows of chairs, set out for hire, three deep on each side, and
forming a lane through which the great body of walkers parade. This
promenade may then be said to deserve the appellation of _Elysian
Fields_, from the number of handsome women who resort hither. The
variety of their dresses and figures, the satisfaction which they
express in seeing and being seen, their anxious desire to please,
which constitutes their happiness and that of our sex, the triumph
which animates the countenance of those who eclipse their rivals; all
this forms a diversified and amusing picture, which fixes attention,
and gives birth to a thousand ideas respecting the art and coquetry
of women, as well as what beauty loses or gains by adopting the
ever-varying caprices of fashion. Here, on a fine summer's evening,
are now to be seen, I am told, females displaying almost as much
luxury of dress as used to be exhibited in the days of the monarchy.
The essential difference is that the road in the centre is not now,
as in those times, covered with brilliant equipages; though every day
seems to produce an augmentation of the number of private carriages.
At the entrance of the _Champs Elysees_ are placed the famous groups
of Numidian horses, held in by their vigorous and masterly conductors,
two _chefs d'oeuvre_ of modern art, copied from the group of
_Monte-Cavallo_ at Rome. By order of the Directory, these statues were
brought from _Marly_, where they ornamented the terrace. They are
each of them cut out of a block of the most faultless Carrara marble.
On the pedestal on which they stood at that once-royal residence, was
engraved the name of COSTOU, 1745, without any Christian name: but,
as there were two brothers of that name, Nicolas and Guillaume,
natives of Lyons, and both excellent sculptors, it is become a matter
of doubt by which of them these master-pieces were executed; though
the one died in 1733, and the other in 1746. It is conjectured,
however, that fraternal friendship induced them to share the fame
arising from these capital productions, and that they worked at them
in common till death left the survivor the task of finishing their
joint labour.

To whichever of the two the merit of the execution may be due, it is
certain that the fiery, ungovernable spirit of the horses, as well as
the exertion of vigour, and the triumph of strength in their
conductors, is very happily expressed. The subject has frequently
afforded a comparison to politicians. "These statues," say some
observers, "appear to be the emblem of the French people, over whom
it is necessary to keep a tight hand."--"It is to be apprehended,"
add others, "that the reins, which the conductors hold with so
powerful an arm, are too weak to check these ungovernable animals."

[Footnote 1: _De l'Etat de la France, a la fin de l'an VIII._ page
270.]

[Footnote 2: Ibid. page 274.]



LETTER XXX.

_Paris, Dccemler 8, 1801_.

You desire that I will favour you with a particular account of the
means employed to transfer from pannel to canvas those celebrated
pictures which I mentioned in my letter of the 13th ult deg.. Like many
other, things that appear simple on being known, so is this process;
but it is not, on that account, the less ingenious and difficult in
execution.

Such is the great disadvantage of the art of painting that, while
other productions of genius may survive the revolution of ages, the
creations of the pencil are intrusted to perishable wood or canvas.
From the effect of heat, humidity, various exhalations to which they
may be carelessly exposed, and even an unperceived neglect in the
priming of the pannel or cloth, master-pieces are in danger of
disappearing for ever. Happy, then, is it for the arts that this
invaluable discovery has been lately brought to so great a degree of
perfection, and that the restoration of several capital pictures
having been confided to men no less skilful than enlightened, they
have thus succeeded in rescuing them from approaching and inevitable
destruction.

Of all the fruits of the French conquests, not a painting was brought
from Lombardy, Rome, Florence, or Venice, that was not covered with
an accumulation of filth, occasioned by the smoke of the wax-tapers
and incense used in the ceremonies of the catholic religion. It was
therefore necessary to clean and repair them; for to bring them to
France, without rendering them fit to be exhibited, would have
answered no better purpose than to have left them in Italy. One of
those which particularly fixed the attention of the Administration of
the CENTRAL MUSEUM OF THE ARTS, was the famous picture by RAPHAEL,
taken from the _Chiesa delle Contesse_ at Foligno, and thence
distinguished by the appellation of

MADONNA DI FOLIGNO.

This _chef d'oeuvre_ was in such a lamentable state of decay, that
the French commissioners who selected it, wereunder the necessity of
pasting paper over it in order to prevent the scales, which curled up
on many parts of its surface, from falling off during its conveyance
to to Paris. In short, had not the saving hand of art interposed,
this, and other monuments of the transcendent powers of the Italian
school, marked by the corroding tooth of Time, would soon have
entirely perished.

As this picture could not be exhibited in its injured state, the
Administration of the Museum determined that it should be repaired.
They accordingly requested the Minister of the Interior to cause this
important operation to be attended by Commissioners chosen from the
National Institute. The Class of Physical and Mathematical Sciences
of that learned Society appointed to this task, GUYTON and
BERTHOLLET, chymists, and the Class of Literature and Fine Arts named
VINCENT and TAUNAY, painters.

These Commissioners, in concert with the Administration, having
ascertained the state of the picture, it was unanimously agreed that
the only mean of saving it would be to remove it from the worm-eaten
pannel on which it was painted. It was, besides, necessary to
ascertain the safety of the process, in order that, without, exciting
the apprehensions of the lovers of the arts, it might be applied to
other pictures which required it.

The Report of the four Commissioners before named, respecting the
restoration of the _Madonna di Foligno_, has been adopted by the
Classes to which they respectively belong, and is to be made to the
National Institute at their next public sitting on the 15th of Nivose
(5th of January, 1802).

In order to make you perfectly acquainted with the whole of the
process, I shall transcribe, for your satisfaction, that part of the
Report immediately connected with the art of restoring damaged or
decayed paintings. This labour, and the success by which it was
attended, are really a memorial of what the genius and industry of
the French can achieve. To all those who, like you, possess valuable
collections, such information cannot but be particularly interesting.

"The desire of repairing the outrages of time has unfortunately
accelerated the decay of several pictures by coarse repainting and
bad varnish, by which much of the original work has been covered.
Other motives, too, have conspired against the purity of the most
beautiful compositions: a prelate has been seen to cause a discordant
head of hair to conceal the charms of a Magdalen."

"Nevertheless, efficacious means of restoration have been discovered:
a painting, the convass of which is decayed, or the pannel
worm-eaten, is transferred to a fresh cloth; the profane touches
of a foreign pencil are made to disappear; the effaced strokes are
reinserted with scrupulous nicety; and life is restored to a picture
which was disfigured, or drawing near to its end. This art has made
great progress, especially in Paris, and experienced recent
improvement under the superintendance of the Administration of the
Museum; but it is only with a religious respect that any one can
venture on an operation which may always give rise to a fear of some
change in the drawing or colouring, above all when the question is to
restore a picture by RAPHAEL."[1]

"The restoration may be divided into two parts; the one, which is
composed of mechanical operations, whose object is to detach the
painting from the ground on which it is fixed, in order to transfer
it to a fresh one; the other, which consists in cleaning the surface
of the painting from every thing that can tarnish it, in restoring
the true colour of the picture, and in repairing the parts destroyed,
by tints skilfully blended with the primitive touches. Thence the
distinctive division of the mechanical operations, and of the art of
painting, which will be the object of the two parts of this Report.
The former particularly engaged the attention of the Commissioners of
the _Class of Sciences_; and the latter, which required the habit of
handling a scientific pencil, fell to the share of the Commissioners
of the _Class of Fine Arts_"

FIRST PART.

"Although the mechanical labour is subdivided into several
operations, it was wholly intrusted to Citizen HACQUINS, on whose
intelligence, address, and skill, it is our duty to bestow every
commendation."

"The picture represents the Virgin Mary, the infant Jesus, St. John,
and several other figures of different sizes. It was painted on a
pannel of 1-1/2 inches in thickness: a crack extended from its
circumference to the left foot of the infant Jesus: it was 4-1/2
lines wide at its upper part, and diminished progressively to the
under: from this crack to the right hand border, the surface formed a
curve whose greatest bend was 2 inches 5-1/2 lines, and from the
crack to the other border, another curve bending 2 inches. The
picture was scaling off in several places, and a great number of
scales had already detached themselves; the painting was, besides,
worm-eaten in many parts."

"It was first necessary to render the surface even: to effect this, a
gauze was pasted on the painting, and the picture was turned on its
face. After that, Citizen HACQUINS made, in the thickness of the
wood, several grooves at some distance from each other, and extending
from the upper extremity of the bend to the place where the pannel
presented a more level surface. Into these grooves he introduced
little wooden wedges; he then covered the whole surface with wet
cloths, which he took care to remoisten. The action of the wedges,
which swelled by the moisture against the softened pannel, compelled
the latter to resume its primitive form: both edges of the crack
before-mentioned being brought together, the artist had recourse to
glue, in order to unite the two separated parts. During the
desiccation, he laid oak bars across the picture, for the purpose of
keeping the pannel in the form which he wished it to assume."

"The desiccation being effected slowly, the artist applied a second
gauze on the first, then successively two thicknesses of grey
blotting paper."

"This preparation (which the French artists call _cartonnage_) being
dry, he laid the picture with its face downward on a table, to which
he carefully confined it; he next proceeded to the separation of the
wood on which the painting was fixed."

"The first operation was executed by means of two saws, one of which
acted perpendicularly; and the other, horizontally: the work of the
two saws being terminated, the pannel was found to be reduced to the
thickness of 4-1/2 lines. The artist then made use of a plane of a
convex form on its breadth: with this instrument he planed the pannel
in an oblique direction, in order to take off very short shavings,
and to avoid the grain of the wood: by these means he reduced the
pannel to 2/3 of a line in thickness. He then took a flat plane with
a toothed iron, whose effect is much like that of a rasp which
reduces wood into dust: in this manner he contrived to leave the
pannel no thicker than a sheet of paper."

"In that state, the wood was successively moistened with clear water,
in small compartments, which disposed it to detach itself: then the
artist separated it with the rounded point of a knife-blade."

"The picture, thus deprived of all the wood, presented to the eye
every symptom of the injury which it had sustained. It had formerly
been repaired; and, in order to fasten again the parts which
threatened to fall off, recourse had been had to oils and varnishes.
But those ingredients passing through the intervals left by such
parts of the picture as were reduced to curling scales, had been
extended in the impression to the paste, on which the painting
rested, and had rendered the real restoration more difficult, without
producing the advantageous effect which had thence been expected."

"The same process would not serve for separating the parts of the
impression which had been indurated by varnishes, and those where the
paste had remained unmixed: it was necessary to moisten the former
for some time in small compartments: when they were become
sufficiently softened, the artist separated them with the blade of
his knife: the others were more easily separated by moistening them
with a flannel, and rubbing them slightly. It required all the
address and patience of Citizen HACQUINS to leave nothing foreign to
the work of the original painter: at length the outline of RAPHAEL
was wholly exposed to view, and left by itself."

"In order to restore a little suppleness to the painting, which was
too much dried, it was rubbed all over with carded cotton imbibed
with oil, and wiped with old muslin: then white lead, ground with
oil, was substituted in the room of the impression made by paste, and
fixed by means of a soft brush."

"After being left to dry for three months, a gauze was glued on the
impression made by oil; and on the latter, a fine canvas."

"When this canvas was dry, the picture was detached from the table,
and turned, in order to remove the _cartonnage_ from it with water;
this operation being effected, the next proceeding was to get rid of
the appearance of the inequalities of the surface arising from the
curling up of its parts: for that purpose, the artist successively
applied on the inequalities, flour-paste diluted. Then having put a
greasy paper on the moistened part, he laid a hot iron on the parts
curled up, which became level: but it was not till after he had
employed the most unequivocal signs to ascertan the suitable degree
of heat, that he ventured to come near the painting with the iron."

"It has been seen that the painting, disengaged from its impression
made by paste and from every foreign substance, had been fixed on an
impression made by oil, and that a level form had been given to the
uneven parts of its surface. This master-piece was still to be
solidly applied on a new ground: for that, it was necessary to paste
paper over it again, detach it from the temporary gauze which had
been put on the impression, add a new coat of oxyde of lead and oil,
apply to it a gauze rendered very supple, and on the latter, in like
manner done over with a preparation of lead, a raw cloth, woven all
in one piece, and impregnated, on its exterior surface, with a
resinous substance, which was to confine it to a similar canvass
fixed on the stretching-frame. This last operation required that the
body of the picture, disengaged from its _cartonnage_, or paper
facing, and furnished with a new ground, should be exactly applied to
the cloth done over with resinous substances, at the same time
avoiding every thing that might hurt it by a too strong or unequal
extension, and yet compelling every part of its vast extent to adhere
to the cloth strained on the stretching-frame. It is by all these
proceedings that the picture has been incorporated with a ground more
durable than the original one, and guarded against the accidents
which had produced the injuries. It was then subjected to
restoration, which is the object of the second part of this Report."

"We have been obliged to confine ourselves to pointing out the
successive operations, the numerous details of which we have
attended; we have endeavoured to give an idea of this interesting
art, by which the productions of the pencil may be indefinitely
perpetuated, in order only to state the grounds of the confidence
that it has appeared to us to merit."

SECOND PART.

"After having given an account of the mechanical operations, employed
with so much success in the first part of the restoration of the
picture by RAPHAEL, it remains for us to speak of the second, the
restoration of the painting, termed by the French artists
_restauration pittoresque_. This part is no less interesting than the
former. We are indebted to it for the reparation of the ravages of
time and of the ignorance of men, who, from their unskilfulness, had
still added to the injury which this master-piece had already
suffered.

"This essential part of the restoration of works of painting,
requires, in those who are charged with it, a very delicate eye, in
order to know how to accord the new tints with the old, a profound
knowledge of the proceedings employed by masters, and a long
experience, in order to foresee, in the choice and use of colours,
what changes time may effect in the new tints, and consequently
prevent the discordance which would be the result of those changes.

"The art of restoring paintings likewise requires the most scrupulous
nicety to cover no other than the damaged parts, and an extraordinary
address to match the work of the restoration with that of the master,
and, as it were, replace the first priming in all its integrity,
concealing the work to such a degree that even unexperienced eye
cannot distinguish what comes from the hand of the artist from what
belongs to that of the master.

"It is, above all, in a work of the importance of that of which we
are speaking, that the friends of the arts have a right to require,
in its restoration, all the care of prudence and the exertion of the
first talents. We feel a real satisfaction in acquainting you with
the happy result of the discriminating wisdom of the Administration
of the CENTRAL MUSEUM OF THE ARTS; who, after having directed and
superintended the first part of the restoration, employed in the
second, that of the painting (which we call _pittoresque_) Citizen
ROESER, whose abilities in this line were long known to them, and
whose repeated success had justified their confidence."

After having assured the Institute that they consider the
_pittoresque_ part of the restoration of the _Madonna di Foligno_ as
pure as it was possible to be desired, the Commissioners proceed to
call their attention to some discordance in the original design and
colouring of this _chef d'oeuvre_, and to make on it some critical
observations. This they do in order to prevent any doubts which might
arise in the mind of observers, and lead them to imagine that the
restoration had, in any manner, impaired the work of RAPHAEL.

They next congratulate themselves on having at length seen this
masterpiece of the immortal RAPHAEL restored to life, shining in all
its lustre, and through such means, that there ought no longer to
remain any fear respecting the recurrence of those accidents whose
ravages threatened to snatch it for ever from general admiration.

They afterwards terminate their Report in the following words:

"The Administration of the CENTRAL MUSEUM OF THE ARTS, who have, by
their knowledge, improved the art of restoration, will, no doubt,
neglect nothing to preserve that art in all its integrity; and,
notwithstanding repeated success, they will not permit the
application of it but to pictures so injured, that there are more
advantages in subjecting them to a few risks inseparable from
delicate and numerous operations, than in abandoning them to the
destruction by which they are threatened. The invitation which the
Administration of the Museum gave to the National Institute to attend
the restoration of the _Madonna di Foligno_ by RAPHAEL, is to us a
sure pledge that the enlightened men of whom it is composed felt that
they owed an account of their vigilance to all the connoisseurs in
Europe."

[Footnote 1: It may not be amiss to observe that RAPHAEL employed the
_impasto_ colour but in few of his pictures, of which the
_Transfiguration_ is one wherein it is the most conspicuous: his
other productions are painted with great transparency, the colours
being laid on a white ground; which rendered still more difficult the
operation above-mentioned. _Note of the Author_.]



LETTER XXXI.

_Paris, December 10, 1801._

"Of all the bridges that were ever built," says Sterne, "the whole
world, who have passed over it, must own that the noblest--the
grandest--the lightest--the longest--the broadest that ever conjoined
land and land together upon the face of the terraqueous globe, is the

PONT NEUF."

The _Pont Neuf_ is certainly the largest, and, on account of its
situation[1], the most conspicuous, and most frequented of any of the
bridges in Paris; but, in the environs of the capital, is one which
surpasses them all. This is the _Pont de Neuilly._

The first stone of the _Pont Neuf_ was laid by Henry III in 1578, and
the foundation of the piles was begun to be formed on the opposite
side; when the troubles of the League forced DU CERCEAU, the
architect, to withdraw to foreign countries. The work was not resumed
till the reign of Henry IV, who ordered it to be continued under the
direction of MARCHAND; but, owing to various causes, the _Pont Neuf_
was not finished till 1674.

The length of this bridge is one thousand and twenty feet, and its
breadth seventy-two; which is sufficient to admit of five carriages
passing abreast. It is formed of twelve arches, seven of which are on
the side of the _Louvre_, and five on the side of the _Quai des
Augustins_, extending over the two channels of the river, which is
wider in this place, from their junction.

In 1775, the parapets were repaired, and the foot-way lowered and
narrowed. SOUFFLOT, the architect of the Pantheon, availed himself of
this opportunity to build, on the twenty half-moons which stand
immediately above each pile, as many rotundas, in stone, to serve as
shops. On the outside, above the arches, is a double cornice, which
attracts the eye of the connoisseur in architecture, notwithstanding
its mouldering state, on account of the _fleurons_ in the antique
style, and the heads of Sylvans, Dryads, and Satyrs, which serve as
supports to it, at the distance of two feet from each other.

As the mole that forms a projection on this bridge between the fifth
and seventh arch, stands facing the _Place Dauphine_, which was built
by Henry IV, it was the spot chosen for erecting to him a statue.
This was the first public monument of the kind that had been raised
in honour of French kings. Under the first, second, and third race,
till the reign of Lewis XIII, if the statue of a king was made, it
was only for the purpose, of being placed on his tomb, or else at the
portal of some church, or royal residence which he had either built
or repaired.

Parisians and strangers used to admire this equestrian statue of
Henry IV, and before the revolution, all agreed in taking him for the
model of goodness. In proof of his popularity, we are told, in the
_Tableau de Paris_, that a beggar was one day following a passenger
along, the foot-way, of the _Pont Neuf_: it was a festival. "In the
name of St. Peter," said the mendicant, "in the name of St. Joseph,
in the name of the Virgin Mary, in the name of her divine Son, in the
name of God?" Being arrived before the statue of the conqueror of the
League, "In the name of _Henri quatre_" exclaimed he, "in the name of
_Henri quatre?_"--"Here!" said the passenger, and he gave him a louis
d'or.

Unquestionably, no monarch that ever sat on the throne of France was
so popular as _Henri quatre_; and his popularity was never eclipsed
by any of his successors. Even amidst the rage of the revolutionary
storm, the military still held his memory in veneration. On opening
the sepultures at St. Denis in 1793, the coffin of Henry IV was the
first that was taken out of the vault of the Bourbons. Though he died
in 1610, his body was found in such preservation that the features of
his face were not altered. A soldier, who was present at the opening
of the coffin, moved by a martial enthusiasm, threw himself on the
body of this warlike prince, and, after a considerable pause of
admiration, he drew his sabre, and cut off a long lock of Henry's
beard, which was still fresh, at the same time exclaiming, in very
energetic and truly-military terms: "And I too am a French soldier!
In future I will have no other whiskers." Then placing this valuable
lock on his upper lip, he withdrew, adding emphatically: "Now I am
sure to conquer the enemies of France, and I march to victory."

In Paris, all the statues of kings had fallen, while that of Henry IV
still remained erect. It was for some time a matter of doubt whether
it should be pulled down. "The poem of the _Henriade_ pleaded in its
favour;" but, says Mercier, "he was an ancestor of the perjured
king," Then, and not till then, this venerated statue underwent the
same fate.

It has been generally believed that the deed of Ravaillac was
dictated by fanaticism, or that he was the instrument employed by the
Marchioness of Verneuil and the Duke of Epernon for assassinating
that monarch. However, it stands recorded, I am told, in a manuscript
found in the National Library, that Ravaillac killed Henry IV because
he had seduced his sister, and abandoned her when pregnant. Thus
time, that affords a clue to most mysteries, has also solved this
historical enigma.

This statue of Henry IV was erected on the 23d of August, 1624. To
have insulted it, would, not long since, have been considered as a
sacrilege; but, after having been mutilated and trodden under foot,
this once-revered image found its way to the mint or the
cannon-foundry. On its site now stands an elegant coffeehouse,
whence you may enjoy a fine view of the stately buildings which
adorn the quays that skirt the river.

While admiring the magnificence of this _coup d'oeil_, an Englishman
cannot avoid being struck by the multitude of washerwomen, striving
to expel the dirt from linen, by means of _battoirs_, or wooden
battledores. On each side of the Seine are to be seen some hundreds
hard at work, ranged in succession, along the sides of low barks,
equal in length to our west-country barges. Such is the vigour of
their arm that, for the circumference of half-a-mile, the air
resounds with the noise of their incessant blows. After beating the
linen for some time in this merciless manner, they scrub it with a
hard brush, in lieu of soaping it, so that a shirt which has passed
through their hands five or six times is fit only for making lint. No
wonder then that Frenchmen, in general, wear coarse linen: a hop-sack
could not long resist so severe a process. However, it must be
confessed, that some good arises from this evil. These washerwomen
insensibly contribute to the diffusion of knowledge; for, as they are
continually reducing linen into rags, they cannot but considerably
increase the supply, of that article for the manufacture of paper.

Compared to the Thames, even above bridge, the Seine is far from
exhibiting a busy scene; a few rafts of wood for fuel, and some
barges occasionally in motion, now and then relieve the monotony of
its rarely-ruffled surface. At this moment, its navigation is impeded
from its stream being swollen by the late heavy rains. Hence much
mischief is apprehended to the country lying contiguous to its banks.
Many parts of Paris are overflowed: in some streets where carriages
must pass, horses are up to their belly in water; while pedestrians
are under the necessity of availing themselves of the temporary
bridges, formed with tressels and planks, by the industrious
Savoyards. The ill consequences of this inundation are already felt,
I assure you; being engaged to dinner yesterday in the _Rue St.
Florentin_, I was obliged to step into a punt in order to reach the
bottom of the stair-case; and what was infinitely more mortifying to
the master of the house, was that, the cellar being rendered
inaccessible,--he was deprived of the satisfaction of regaling his
guests with his best claret.

On the right hand side of the _Pont Neuf_, in crossing that bridge
from the _Quai de l'Ecole_ to the _Quai de Conti_, is a building,
three stories high, erected on piles, with its front standing between
the first and second arches. It is called

LA SAMARITAINE.

Over the dial is a gilt group, representing Jesus Christ and the
Samaritan woman near Jacob's well, pourtrayed by a basin into which
falls a sheet of water issuing from a shell above. Under the basin is
the following inscription:

          _Fons Hortorum
  Puteus aquarum viventium._

These words of the Gospel are here not unaptly applied to the
destination of this building, which is to furnish water to the garden
of the _Tuileries_, whose basins were not, on that account, the less
dry half the year. The water is raised by means of a pump, and
afterwards distributed, by several conduits, to the _Louvre_ and the
_Palais du Tribunat_, as well as to the _Tuileries_.

In the middle, and above the arch, is a superstructure of timber-work
faced with gilt lead, where are the bells of the clock and those of
chimes, which ought to play every half-hour.

This tasteless edifice interrupts the view in every direction and as
it is far from being an ornament to the _Pont Neuf_, no one could now
regret its entire removal. Under the old _regime_, however, it was
nothing less than a government.

Among the functions of the governor, were included the care of the
clock, which scarcely ever told the hour, and that of the chimes,
which were generally out of order. When these chimes used to delight
Henry IV, it is to be presumed that they were kept in better tune. It
was customary to make them play during all public ceremonies, and
especially when the king passed.

"The _Pont Neuf_, is in the city of Paris what the heart is in the
human body, the centre of motion and circulation: the flux and reflux
of inhabitants and strangers crowd this passage in such a manner,
that, in order to meet persons one is looking for, it is sufficient
to walk here for an hour every day. Here, the _mouchards_, or spies
of the police, take their station; and, when at the expiration of a
few days, they see not their man, they positively affirm that he is
not in Paris."

Such was the animated picture of the _Pont Neuf_, as drawn by Mercier
in 1788, and such it really was before the revolution. At present,
though this bridge is sometimes thronged with passengers, it presents
not, according to my observation, that almost continual crowd and
bustle for which it was formerly distinguished. No stoppage now from
the press of carriages of any description, no difficulty in advancing
quickly through the concourse of pedestrians. Fruit-women, hucksters,
hawkers, pedlars, indeed, together with ambulating venders of
lottery-tickets, and of _tisane_, crying "_a la fraiche! Qui veut
boire?_" here take their stand as they used, though not in such
numbers.

But the most sensible diminution is among the shoe-blacks, who stand
in the carriage-way, and, with all their implements before them,
range themselves along the edge of the very elevated _trottoir_ or
foot-pavement. The _decrotteurs_ of the _Pont Neuf_ were once reputed
masters of the art: their foresight was equal to their dexterity and
expedition. For the very moderate sum of two _liards_, they enabled
an abbe or a poet to present himself in the gilded apartments of a
dutchess. If it rained, or the rays of the sun were uncommonly
ardent, they put into his hand an umbrella to protect the economy of
his head-dress during the operation. Their great patrons have
disappeared, and, in lieu of a constant succession of customers, the
few _decrotteurs_ who remain at their old-established station, are
idle half the day for want of employment.

These Savoyards generally practise more than one trade, as is
indicated by the _enseigne_ which is affixed, on a short pole, above
their tool-box.

  LA FRANCE tond les
  chiens coupe les chats
  proprement et sa femme
  vat en ville et en campagne

Change the name only, and such is, line for line, letter for letter,
the most ordinary style of their _annonce_. It is, however, to be
presumed, that the republican belles have adopted other favourites
instead of dogs and cats; for no longer is seen, as in the days of
royalty, the aspiring or favoured lover carrying his mistress's
lap-dog in the public promenades. In fact, the business of
dog-shearing, &c. seems full as dead in this part of Paris as that
of shoe-cleaning. The _artists_ of the _Pont Neuf_ are, consequently,
chop-fallen; and hilarity which formerly shone on their countenance,
is now succeeded by gloomy sadness.

At the foot of the _Pont Neuf_ on the _Quai de la Feraille_
recruiting-officers used to unfurl their inviting banners, and
neglect nothing that art and cunning could devise to insnare the
ignorant, the idle, and the unwary. The means which they sometimes
employed were no less whimsical than various: the lover of wine was
invited to a public-house, where he might intoxicate himself; the
glutton was tempted by the sight of ready-dressed turkies, fowls,
sausages &c. suspended to a long pole; and the youth, inclined to
libertinism, was seduced by the meretricious allurements of a
well-tutored doxy. To second these manoeuvres, the recruiter
followed the object of his prey with a bag of money, which he
chinked occasionally, crying out "_Qui en veut?_" and, in this
manner, an army of heroes was completed. It is almost superfluous
to add, that the necessity of such stratagems is obviated, by the
present mode of raising soldiers by conscription.

Before we quit the _Pont Neuf_, I must relate to you an adventure
which, in the year 1786, happened to our friend P-----, who is now
abroad, in a situation of considerable trust and emolument. He was,
at that time, a half-pay subaltern in the British army, and visited
Paris, as well from motives of economy as from a desire of acquiring
the French language. Being a tall, fresh-coloured young man, as he
was one day crossing the _Pont Neuf_, he caught the eye of a
recruiting-officer, who followed him from the _Quai de la Feraille_
to a coffee-house, in the _Rue St. Honore_, which our Englishman
frequented for the sake of reading the London newspapers. The
recruiter, with all the art of a crimp combined with all the
politeness of a courtier, made up to him under pretence of having
relations in England, and endeavoured, by every means in his power,
to insinuate himself into the good graces of his new acquaintance.
P----, by way of sport, encouraged the eagerness of the recruiter,
who lavished on him every sort of civility; peaches in brandy,
together with the choicest refreshments that a Parisian coffee-house
could afford, were offered to him and accepted: but not the smallest
hint was dropped of the motive of all this more than friendly
attention. At length, the recruiter, thinking that he might venture
to break the ice, depicted, in the most glowing colours, the
pleasures and advantages of a military life, and declared ingenuously
that nothing would make him so happy as to have our countryman P----
for his comrade. Without absolutely accepting or rejecting his offer,
P---- begged a little delay in order to consider of the matter, at
the same time hinting that there was; at that moment, a small obstacle
to his inclination. The recruiter, like a pioneer, promised to remove
it, grasped his hand with joy and exultation, and departed, singing a
song of the same import as that of Serjeant Kite:

  "Come brave boys, 'tis one to ten,
  But we return all gentlemen."

In a few days, the recruiter again met Mr. P---- at his accustomed
rendezvous; when, after treating him with coffee, liqueur, &c. he
came directly to the point, but neglected not to introduce into his
discourse every persuasive allurement. P----, finding himself pushed
home, reminded the recruiter of the obstacle to which he had before
alluded, and, to convince him of its existence, put into his hand His
Britannic Majesty's commission. The astonishment and confusion of the
French recruiter were so great that he was unable to make any reply;
but instantly retired, venting a tremendous ejaculation.

[Footnote 1: By the Plan of Paris, it will be seen that the _Pont
Neuf_ lies at the west point of the Island called _L'Ile du Palais_,
and is, as it were, in the very centre of the capital.]



LETTER XXXII.

_Paris, December 13, 1801._

In this gay capital, balls succeed to balls in an almost incredible
variety. There are actually an immense number every evening; so that
persons fond of the amusement of dancing have full scope for the
exercise of their talents in Paris. It is no longer a matter of
surprise to me that the French women dance so well, since I find that
they take frequent lessons from their master, and, almost every
night, they are at a dance of one kind or another. Added to this, the
same set of dances lasts the whole season, and go where you will, you
have a repetition of the same. However, this detracts not in the
smallest degree; from the merit of those Parisian belles who shine as
first-rate dancers. The mechanical part of the business, as Mr.
C----g would call it, they may thus, acquire by constant practice;
but the decorative part, if I may so term the fascinating grace which,
they display in all their movements, is that the result of study, or
do they hold it from the bounteous hand of Nature?

While I am speaking of balls, I must inform you that, since the
private ball of which I gave you so circumstantial an account, I have
been at several others, also private, but of a different complexion;
inasmuch as pleasure, not profit, was the motive for which they were
given, and the company was more select; but, in point of general
arrangement, I found them so like the former, that I did not think it
worth while to make any one of them the subject of a distinct letter.
In this line Madame Recamier takes the lead, but though her balls are
more splendid, those of Madame Soubiran are more agreeable. On the
21st of Frimaire, which was yesterday, I was at a public ball of the
most brilliant kind now known in Paris. It was the first of the
subscription given this season, and, from the name of the apartment
where it is held, it is styled the

BAL DU SALON DES ETRANGERS.

Midnight is the general hour for the commencement of such diversions;
but, owing to the long train of carriages setting down company at
this ball, it was near two o'clock before I could arrive at the scene
of action, in the _Rue Grange Bateliere_, near the Boulevards.

After I alighted and presented my ticket, some time elapsed before I
could squeeze into the room where the dancing was going forward. The
spectators were here so intermixed with the dancers, that they formed
around them a border as complete as a frame to a picture. It is
astonishing that, under such circumstances, a Parisian Terpsichore,
far from being embarrassed, lays fresh claim to your applause. With
mathematical precision, she measures with her eye the space to which
she is restricted by the curiosity of the by-standers. Rapid as
lightning, she springs forward till the measure recalling her to the
place she left, she traces her orbit, like a planet, at the same time
revolving on her axis. Sometimes her "light, fantastic toe" will
approach within half an inch of your foot; nay, you shall almost feel
her breath on your cheek, and still she will not touch you, except,
perhaps, with the skirt of her floating tunic.

Among the female part of the company, I observed several lovely
women; some, who might have been taken for Asiatic sultanas,
irradiating the space around them by the dazzling brilliancy of their
ornaments; others, without jewels, but calling in every other aid of
dress for the embellishment of their person; and a few, rich in their
native charms alone, verifying the expression of the poet. Truth
compels me to acknowledge that six or eight English ladies here were
totally eclipsed. For the honour of my country, I could have wished
for a better specimen of our excellence in female beauty. No women in
the world, or at least none that ever I have met with in the
different quarters I have visited, are handsomer than the English, in
point of complexion and features. This is a fact which Frenchmen
themselves admit; but for grace, say they, our countrywomen stand
unrivalled, I am rather inclined to subscribe to this opinion. In a
well-educated French woman, there is an ease, an affability, a desire
to please and be pleased, which not only render her manners
peculiarly engaging, but also influence her gait, her gestures, her
whole deportment in short, and captivate admiration. Her natural
cheerfulness and vivacity spread over her features an animation
seldom to be found in our English fair, whose general characteristics
are reserve and coldness. Hence that striking expression which
exhibits the grace of the French belles to superior advantage.

Although my memory frequently disappoints me when I wish to retain
names, I have contrived to recollect those of three of the most
remarkable women in the ball-room. I shall therefore commit them to
paper before I forget them. Madame la Princesse de Santa-Croce
displayed more diamonds than any of her competitors; Mademoiselle
Lescot was the best dancer among several ladies renowned for dancing;
and Madame Tallien was, on the whole, the handsomest female that I
saw in the room. There might possibly be women more beautiful than
she at this ball, but they did not come under my observation.

I had previously seen Madame Tallien at the _Opera Buffa_, and was
struck by her appearance before, I knew who she was. On seeing her
again at the _Salon des Etrangers_, I inquired of a French lady of my
acquaintance, whose understanding and discernment are pre-eminent, if
Madame T------ had nothing to recommend her but her personal
attractions? The lady's answer is too remarkable for me not to repeat
it, which I will do _verbatim_. "In Madame T------," said she,
"beauty, wit, goodness of heart, grace, talents, all are united. In a
gay world, where malice subsists in all its force, her
inconsistencies alone have been talked of, without any mention being
made of the numerous acts of beneficence which have balanced, if they
have not effaced, her weakness. Would you believe," continued she,
"that, in Paris, the grand theatre of misconduct, where moral
obligations are so much disregarded, where we daily commit actions
which we condemn in others; would you believe, that Madame T------
experiences again and again the mortification of being deprived of
the society of this, or that woman who has nothing to boast of but
her depravity, and cannot plead one act of kindness, or even
indulgence? This picture is very dark," added she, "but the colouring
is true."--"What you tell me," observed I, "proves that,
notwithstanding the irruption of immorality, attributed to the
revolution, it is still necessary for a woman to preserve appearances
at least, in order to be received here in what is termed the best
company."--"Yes, indeed," replied she; "if a woman neglects that main
point in Paris, she will soon find herself lowered in the opinion of
the fashionable world, and be at last excluded from even the
secondary circles. In London, your people of fashion are not quite so
rigid."--"If a husband chooses to wink at his wife's incontinence,"
rejoined I, "the world on our side of the water is sufficiently
complaisant to follow his example. Now with you, character is made to
depend more on the observance of etiquette; and, certainly,
hypocrisy, when detected, is of more prejudice to society than
barefaced profligacy."--The lady then resumed thus concerning the
subject of my inquiry. "Were some people to hear me," said she, "they
might think that I had drawn you a flattering portrait of Madame
T------ and say, by way of contrast, when the devil became old, he
turned hermit; but I should answer that, for some years, no
twenty-four hours have elapsed without persons, whom I could name on
occasion, having begun their daily career by going to see her, who
saved their life, when, to accomplish that object, she hazarded her
own."

Here then is an additional instance of the noble energy manifested by
women during the most calamitous periods of the revolution.
Unappalled by the terrors of captivity or of death, their sensibility
impelled them to brave the ferocity of sanguinary tyrants, in order
to administer hope or comfort to a parent, a husband, a relation, or
a friend. Some of these heroines, though in the bloom of youth, not
content with sympathizing in the misfortunes of others, gave
themselves up as a voluntary sacrifice, rather than survive those
whose preservation they valued more than their own existence. Rome
may vaunt her Porcia, or her Cornelia; but the page of her history
can produce no such exaltation of the female character as has been
exhibited within the last ten years by French women. Examples, like
these, of generosity, fortitude, and greatness of soul, deserve to be
recorded to the end of time, as they do honour to the sex, and to
human nature.

If, according to the scale of Parisian enjoyment, a ball or rout is
dull and insipid, _a moins qu'on ne manque d'y etre etouffe_, how
supreme must have been the satisfaction of the company at the _Salon
des Etrangers!_ The number present, estimated at seven or eight
hundred, occasioned so great a crowd that it was by no means an easy
enterprise to pass from one room to another. Of course, there was no
opportunity of viewing the apartments to advantage; however, I saw
enough of them to remark that they formed a suite elegantly
decorated. Some persons amused themselves with cards, though the
great majority neither played nor danced, but were occupied in
conversing with their acquaintance, There was no regular supper, but
substantial refreshments of every kind were to be procured on paying;
and other smaller ones, _gratis_.

From the tickets not being transferable, and the bearer's name being
inserted in each of them, the company was far more select than it
could have been without such a restriction. Most of the foreign
ambassadors, envoys, &c. were present, and many of the most
distinguished persons of both sexes in Paris. More regard was paid to
the etiquette of dress at this ball than, I have ever witnessed here
on similar occasions, The ladies, as I have before said, were all _en
grande toilette_; and the men with cocked hats, and in shoes and
stockings, which is a novelty here, I assure you, as they mostly
appear in boots. But what surprised me not a little, was to observe
several inconsiderate French youths wear black cockades. Should they
persist in such an absurdity, I shall be still more surprised, if
they escape admonition from the police. This fashion seemed to be the
_ignis fatuus_ of the moment; it was never before exhibited in
public, and probably will be but of ephemeral duration.

I cannot take leave of this ball without communicating to you a
circumstance which occurred there, and which, from the extravagant
credulity it exhibits in regard to the effects of sympathy, may
possibly amuse you for a moment.

A widow, about twenty years of age, more to be admired for the
symmetry of her person, than for the beauty of her features, had,
according to the prevailing custom, intrusted her pocket-handkerchief
to the care of a male friend, a gentlemanlike young Frenchman of my
acquaintance. After dancing, the lady finding herself rather warm,
applied for her handkerchief, with which she wiped her forehead, and
returned it to the gentleman, who again put it into his pocket. He
then danced, but not with her; and, being also heated, he, by
mistake, took out the lady's handkerchief, which, when applied to his
face, produced, as he fancied, such an effect on him, that, though he
had previously regarded her with a sort of indifference, from that
moment she engaged all his attention, and he was unable to direct his
eyes, or even his thoughts, to any other object.

Some philosophers, as is well known, have maintained that from all
bodies there is an emanation of corpuscles, which, coming into
contact with our organs, make on the brain an impression, either more
or less sympathetic, or of a directly-opposite nature. They tell you,
for instance, that of two women whom you behold for the first time,
the one the least handsome will sometimes please you most, because
there exists a greater _sympathy_ between you and her, than between
you and the more beautiful woman. Without attempting to refute this
absurd doctrine of corpuscles, I shall only observe that this young
Frenchman is completely smitten, and declares that no woman in the
world can be compared to the widow.

This circumstance reminds me of a still more remarkable effect,
ascribed to a similar cause, experienced by Henry III of France. The
marriage of the king of Navarre, afterwards Henry IV, with Marguerite
de Valois, and that of the Prince de Conde with Marie de Cleves, was
celebrated at the Louvre on the 10th of August, 1572. Marie de
Cleves, then a most lovely creature only sixteen, after dancing much,
finding herself incommoded by the heat of the ball-room, retired to a
private apartment, where one of the waiting-women of the
queen-dowager, seeing her in a profuse perspiration, persuaded her
to make an entire change of dress. She had scarcely left the room
when the Duke of Anjou, afterwards Henry III, who had also danced a
great deal, entered it to adjust his hair, and, being overheated,
wiped his face with the first thing that he found, which happened
to be the shift she had just taken off. Returning to the ball, he
fixed his eyes on her, and contemplated her with as much surprise
as if he had never before beheld her. His emotion, his transports,
and the attention which he began to pay her, were the more
extraordinary, as during the preceding week, which she had passed
at court, he appeared indifferent to those very charms which now
made on his heart an impression so warm and so lasting. In short,
he became insensible to every thing that did not relate to his
passion.

His election to the crown of Poland, say historians, far from
flattering him, appeared to him an exile, and when he was in that
kingdom, absence, far from diminishing his love, seemed to increase
it. Whenever he addressed the princess, he pricked his finger, and
never wrote to her but with his blood. No sooner was he informed of
the death of Charles IX, than he dispatched a courier to assure her
that she should soon be queen of France; and, on his return, his
thoughts were solely bent on dissolving her marriage with the Prince
de Conde, which, on account of the latter being a protestant, he
expected to accomplish. But this determination proved fatal to the
princess; for, shortly after, she was attacked by a violent illness,
attributed to poison, which carried her off in the flower of her age.

No words can paint Henry's despair at this event: he passed several
days in tears and groans; and when he was at length obliged to shew
himself in public, he appeared in deep mourning, and entirely covered
with emblems of death, even to his very shoe-strings.

The Princess de Conde had been dead upwards of four months, and
buried in the abbey-church of _St. Germain-des-Pres_, when Henry, on
entering the abbey, whither he was invited to a grand entertainment
given there by Cardinal de Bourbon, felt such violent tremblings at
his heart, that not being able to endure their continuance, he was
going away; but they ceased all at once, on the body of the princess
being removed from its tomb, and conveyed elsewhere for that evening.

His mother, Catherine de Medicis, by prevailing on him to marry
Louise de Vaudemont, one of the most beautiful women in Europe, hoped
that she would make him forget her whom death had snatched from him,
and he himself perhaps indulged a similar hope, but the memoirs of
those times concur in asserting that the image of the Princess de
Conde was never effaced from his heart, and that, to the day of his
assassination, which did not happen till seventeen years after,
whatever efforts he made to subdue his passion, were wholly
unavailing.

Sympathy is a sentiment to which few persons attach the same ideas.
It may be classed in three distinct species. The first seems to have
an immediate connexion with the senses; the second, with the heart;
and the third, with the mind. Although it cannot be denied that the
preference we bestow on this or that woman is the result of the one
or the other of these, or even of all three together; yet the
analysis of our attachments is, in some cases, so difficult as to
defy the investigation of reason. For, as the old song says, some
lovers

  Will "whimper and whine
  For lilies and roses,
  For eyes, lips, and noses,
  Or a _tip of an ear_."

To cut the matter short, I think it fully proved, by the example of
some of the wisest men, that the affections are often captivated by
something indefinable, or, in the words of Corneille,

  _"Par un je ne sais quoi--qu'on ne peut exprimer."_



LETTER XXXIII.

_Paris, December 14, 1801._

I have already spoken to you of the _Pont Neuf_. To the east of it,
as you will see by the Plan of Paris, the small islands in the middle
of the Seine are connected to its banks by several bridges; while to
the west, there are two only, though a third is projected, and,
previously to the late rise of the river, workmen were employed in
driving piles for the foundation. I shall now describe to you these
two bridges, beginning with the

PONT NATIONAL.

Before the revolution, this bridge bore the appellation of _Pont
Royal_, from its having been built by Lewis XIV, and the expenses
defrayed but of his privy purse, to supply the place of one of wood,
situated opposite to the _Louvre_, which was carried away by the ice
in 1684. It is reckoned one of the most solid bridges in Paris, and,
till the existence of the _Pont de la Concorde_, was the only one
built across the river, without taking advantage of the islands
above-mentioned. It stands on four piles, forming with the two
abutments five elliptical arches of a handsome sweep. The span of the
centre arch is seventy-two feet, that of the two adjoining sixty-six,
and that of the two outer ones sixty. On each side is a raised
pavement for foot-passengers, in the middle of which I should imagine
that there is breadth sufficient to admit of four carriages passing
abreast.

GABRIEL had undertaken this bridge from the designs of MANSARD. The
work was already in a state of forwardness, when, at a pile on the
side of the _Faubourg St. Germain_, the former could not succeed in
excluding the water. A Jacobin, not a clubist, but a Jacobin friar,
one FRANCOIS ROMAIN, who had just finished the bridge of Strasburg,
was sent for by the king to the assistance of the French architects,
and had the honour of completing the rest of the work.

In the time of Henry IV, there was no bridge over this part of the
river, which he used frequently to cross in the first boat that
presented itself. Returning one day from the chace, in a plain
hunting dress, and having with him only two or three gentlemen, he
stepped into a skiff to be carried over from the _Faubourg St.
Germain_ to the _Tuileries_. Perceiving that he was not known by the
waterman, he asked him what people said of the peace, meaning the
peace of Vervins, which was just concluded. "Faith! I don't
understand this sort of peace," answered the waterman; "there are
taxes on every thing, and even, on this miserable boat, with which I
have a hard matter to earn my bread."--"And does not the king,"
continued Henry, "intend to lighten these taxes?"--"The king is a
good kind of man enough," replied the waterman; "but he has a lady
who must needs have so many fine gowns and gewgaws; and 'tis we who
pay for all that. One would not think so much of it either, if she
kept to him only; but, they say, she suffers herself to be kissed by
many others."

Henry IV was so amused by this conversation, that, the next morning,
he sent for the waterman, and made him repeat, word for word, before
the Dutchess of Beaufort, all that he had said the preceding evening.
The Dutchess, much irritated, was for having him hanged. "You are a
foolish woman," said Henry; "this is a poor devil whom poverty has
put out of humour. In future, he shall pay no tax for his boat, and I
am convinced that he will then sing every day, _Vive Henri! Vive
Gabrielle!_"

The north end of the _Pont National_ faces the wing of the palace of
the _Tuileries_ distinguished by the name of the _Pavillon de Flore_.
From the middle of this bridge, you see the city in a striking point
of view. Here, the celebrated Marshal de Catinat used frequently to
make it part of his morning's amusement to take his stand, and, while
he enjoyed the beauty of the prospect, he opened his purse to the
indigent as they passed. That philosophic warrior often declared that
he never beheld any thing equal to the _coup d'oeil_ from this
station. In fact, on the one side, you discover the superb gallery of
the _Louvre_, extending from that palace to the _Tuileries_; and, on
the other, the _Palais du Corps Legislatif_, and a long range of
other magnificent buildings, skirting the quays on each bank of the
river.

These quays, nearly to the number of thirty, are faced with stone,
and crowned with parapets breast high, which, in eighteen or twenty
different spots, open to form watering-places. The Seine, being thus
confined within its bed, the eye is never displeased here by the
sight of muddy banks like those of the Thames, or the nose offended
by the smell arising from the filth which the common sewers convey to
the river.

The galiot of _St. Cloud_ regularly takes its departure from the
_Pont National_. Formerly, on Sundays and holidays, it used to be a
very entertaining sight to contemplate the Paris cocknies crowding
into this vessel. Those who arrived too late, jumped into the first
empty boat, which frequently overset, either through the
unskilfulness of the waterman, or from being overloaded. In
consequence of such accidents, the boats of the Seine are prohibited
from taking more than sixteen passengers.

Not many years ago, an excursion to _St. Cloud_ by water, was an
important voyage to some of the Parisians, as you may see by
referring to the picture which has been drawn of it, under the title
of "_Voyage de Paris a Saint Cloud par mer, et le retour de Saint
Cloud a Paris par terre_."

Following the banks of the Seine, towards the west, we next come to
the

PONT DE LA CONCORDE.

This bridge, which had long been wished for and projected, was begun
in 1787, and finished in 1790. Its southern extremity stands opposite
to the _Palais du Corps Legislatif_; while that of the north faces
the _Place de la Concorde_, whence it not only derives its present
appellation, but has always experienced every change of name to which
the former has been subject.

The lightness of its apearance is less striking to those who have
seen the _Pont de Neuilly_, in which PERRONET, Engineer of bridges
and highways, has, by the construction of arches nearly flat, so
eminently distinguished himself. He is likewise the architect of this
bridge, which is four hundred and sixty-two feet in length by
forty-eight in breadth. Like the _Pont National_, it consists of
five elliptical arches. The span of the centre arch is ninety-six
feet; that of the collateral ones, eighty-seven; and that of the
two others near the abutments, sixty-eight. Under one of the latter
is a tracking-path for the facility of navigation.

The piles, which are each nine feet in thickness, have, on their
starlings, a species of pillars that support a cornice five feet and
a half high. Perpendicularly to these pillars are to rise as many
pyramids, which are to be crowned by a parapet with a balustrade: in
all these, it is intended to display no less elegance of workmanship
than the arches present boldness of design and correctness of
execution.

On crossing these bridges, it has often occurred to me, how much the
Parisians must envy us the situation of our metropolis. If the Seine,
like the Thames, presented the advantage of braving the moderate
winds, and of conveying, by regular tides, the productions of the
four quarters of the globe to the quays which skirt its banks, what
an acquisition would it not be to their puny commerce! What a
gratification to their pride to see ships discharging their rich
cargoes at the foot of the _Pont de la Concorde_! The project of the
canal of Languedoc must, at first, have apparently presented greater
obstacles; yet, by talents and perseverance, these were overcome at a
time when the science of machinery of every description was far less
understood than it is at the present moment.

It appears from the account of Abbon, a monk of the abbey of St.
Germain-des-Pres, that, in the year 885, the Swedes, Danes, and
Normans, to the number of forty-five thousand men, came to lay siege
to Paris, with seven hundred sail of ships, exclusively of the
smaller craft, so that, according to this historian, who was an
eye-witness of the fact, the river Seine was covered with their
vessels for the space of two leagues.

Julius Caesar tells us, in the third book of his Commentaries, that,
at the time of his conquest of the Gauls, in the course of one
winter, he constructed six hundred vessels of the wood which then
grew in the environs of Paris; and that, in the following spring, he
embarked his army, horse and foot, provisions and baggage, in these
vessels, descended the Seine, reached Dieppe, and thence crossed over
to England, of which, he says, he made a conquest.

About forty years ago, the scheme engaged much attention. In 1759,
the Academy of Sciences, Belles-Lettres, and Arts of Rouen, proposed
the following as a prize-question: "Was not the Seine formerly
navigable for vessels of greater burden than those which are now
employed on it; and are there not means to restore to it, or to
procure it, that advantage?" In 1760, the prize was adjourned; the
memoirs presented not being to the satisfaction of the Academy. In
1761, the new candidates having no better success, the subject was
changed.

However, notwithstanding this discouragement, we find that, on the
1st of August, 1766, Captain Berthelot actually reached the _Pont
Royal_ in a vessel of one hundred and sixty tons burden. When, on the
22d of the same month, he departed thence, loaded with merchandise,
the depth of the water in the Seine was twenty-five feet, and it was
nearly the same when he ascended the river. This vessel was seven
days on her passage from Rouen to Paris: but a year or two ago, four
days only were employed in performing the same voyage by another
vessel, named the _Saumon_.

Engineers have ever judged the scheme practicable, and the estimate
of the necessary works, signed by several skilful surveyors, was
submitted to the ministry of that day. The amount was forty-six
millions of livres (circa L1,916,600 sterling).

But what can compensate for the absence of the tide? This is an
advantage, which, in a commercial point of view, must ever insure to
London a decided superiority over Paris. Were the Seine to-morrow
rendered navigable for vessels of large burden, they must, for a
considerable distance, be tracked against the stream, or wait till a
succession of favourable winds had enabled them to stem it through
its various windings; whereas nothing can be more favourable to
navigation than the position of London. It has every advantage of a
sea-port without its dangers. Had it been placed lower down, that is,
nearer to the mouth of the Thames, it would have been more exposed to
the insults of a foreign enemy, and also to the insalubrious
exhalations of the swampy marshes. Had it been situated higher up the
river, it would have been inaccessible to ships of large burden.

Thus, by no effort of human invention or industry can Paris rival
London in commerce, even on the supposition that France could produce
as many men possessed of the capital and spirit of enterprise, for
which our British merchants are at present unrivalled.

Yet, may not this pre-eminence in commercial prosperity lead to our
destruction, as the gigantic conquests of France may also pave the
way to her ruin? Alas! the experience of ages proves this melancholy
truth, which has also been repeated by Raynal: "Commerce," says that
celebrated writer, "in the end finds its ruin in the riches which it
accumulates, as every powerful state lays the foundation of its own
destruction in extending its conquests."



LETTER XXXIV.

_Paris, December 16, 1801._

No part of the engagement into which I have entered with you, so
fully convinces me of my want of reflection, and shews that my zeal,
at the time, got the better of my judgment, as my promising you some
ideas on

FRENCH LITERATURE.

It would, I now perceive, be necessary to have inhabited France for
several years past, with the determined intention of observing this
great empire solely in that single point of view, to be able to keep
my word in a manner worthy of you and of the subject. It would be
necessary to write a large volume of rational things; and, in a
letter, I ought to relate them with conciseness and truth; draw
sketches with rapidity, but clearness; in short, express positive
results, without deviating from abstractions and generalities, since
you require from me, on this subject, no more than a letter, and not
a book.

I come to the point. I shall consider literature in a double sense.
First, the thing in itself; then, its connexions with the sciences,
and the men who govern. In England, it has been thought, or at least
insinuated in some of the papers and periodical publications, that
literature had been totally annihilated in France within the last
twelve years. This is a mistake: its aberrations have been taken for
eclipses. It has followed the revolution through all its phases.

Under the Constituent Assembly, the literary genius of the French was
turned towards politics and eloquence. There remain valuable
monuments of the fleeting existence of that assembly. MIRABEAU,
BARNAVE, CAZALES, MAURY, and thirty other capital writers, attest
this truth. Nothing fell from their lips or their pen that did not
hear at the same time the stamp of philosophy and literature.

Under the Legislative Assembly and the Convention, the establishments
of the empire of letters were little respected. Literati themselves
became victims of the political collisions of their country; but
literature was constantly cultivated under several forms. Those who
shewed themselves its oppressors, were obliged to assume the refined
language which it alone can supply, and that, at the very time when
they declared war against it.

Under the Directorial government, France, overwhelmed by the weight
of her long misfortunes, first cast her eye on the construction of a
new edifice, dedicated to human knowledge in general, under the name
of _National Institute_. Literature there collected its remains, and
those who cultivate it, as members of this establishment, are not
unworthy of their office. Such as are not admitted into this society,
notwithstanding all the claims the most generally acknowledged, owe
this omission to moral or political causes only, on which I could not
touch, without occupying myself about persons rather than the thing
itself.

The French revolution, which has levelled so many gigantic fortunes,
is said (by its advocates) to have really spread a degree of comfort
among the inferior classes. Indeed, if there are in France, as may be
supposed, much fewer persons rolling in riches, there are, I am
informed, much fewer pining in indigence. This observation, admitting
it to be strictly true, may, with great propriety, be applied to
French literature. France no longer has a VOLTAIRE or a ROUSSEAU, to
wield the sceptre of the literary world; but she has a number of
literary degrees of public interest or simple amusement, which are
perfectly well filled. Few literati are without employ, and still
fewer are beneath their functions. The place of member of the
Institute is a real public function remunerated by the State. It is
to this cause, and to a few others, which will occur to you
beforehand, that we must attribute the character of gravity which
literature begins to assume in this country. The prudery of the
school of DORAT would here be hissed. Here, people will not quarrel
with the Graces; but they will no longer make any sacrifice to them
at the expense of common sense.

In this literary republic still exist, as you may well conceive, the
same passions, the same littleness, the same intrigues as formerly
for arriving at celebrity, and keeping in that envied sphere; but all
this makes much less noise at the present juncture. It is this which
has induced the belief that literature had diminished its intensity,
both in form and object: that is another mistake. The French literati
are mostly a noisy class, who love to make themselves conspicuous,
even by the clashing of their pretensions; but, to the great regret
of several among them, people in this country now attach a rational
importance only to their quarrels, which formerly attracted universal
attention. The revolution has been so great an event; it has
overthrown such great interests; that no one here can any longer
flatter himself with exciting a personal interest, except by
performing the greatest actions.

I must also make a decisive confession on this matter, and
acknowledge that literature, which formerly held the first degree in
the scale of the moral riches of this nation, is likely to decline in
priority and influence. The sciences have claimed and obtained in the
public mind a superiority resulting from the very nature of their
object; I mean utility. The title of _savant_ is not more brilliant
than formerly; but it is more imposing; it leads to consequence, to
superior employments, and, above all, to riches. The sciences have
done so much for this people during their revolution, that, whether
through instinct, or premeditated gratitude, they have declared their
partiality towards the _savans_, or men of science, to the detriment
of the mere literati. The sciences are nearly allied both to pride
and national interest; while literature concerns only the vanity and
interest of a few individuals. This difference must have been felt,
and of itself alone have fixed the esteem of the public, and
graduated their suffrages according to the merit of the objects.
Regard being had to their specific importance, I foresee that this
natural classification will be attended with happy consequences, both
for sciences and literature.

I have been enabled to observe that very few men of science are
unacquainted with the literature of their country, whether for
seeking in it pleasing relaxation, or for borrowing from it a magic
style, a fluent elocution, a harmony, a pomp of expression, with
which the most abstract meditations can no longer dispense to be
received favourably by philosophers and men of taste. Very few
literati, on the other hand, are unacquainted with philosophy and the
sciences, and, above all, with natural knowledge; whether not to be
too much in arrear with the age in which they live, and which
evidently inclines to the study of Nature, or to give more colour and
consistence to their thoughts, by multiplying their degrees of
comparison with the eternal type of all that is great and fertile.

It has been so often repeated that HOMER, OSSIAN, and MILTON, knew
every thing known in their times; that they were at once the greatest
natural philosophers and the best moralists of their age, that this
truth has made an impression on most of the adepts in literature; and
as the impulse is given, and the education of the present day by the
retrenchment of several unnecessary pursuits, has left, in the mind
of the rising generation, vacancies fit to be filled by a great
variety of useful acquirements, it appears to me demonstrated, on
following analogy, and the gradations of human improvement, that the
sciences, philosophy, and literature will some day have in France but
one common domain, as they there have at present, with the arts, only
one central point of junction.

The French government has flattered the literati and artists, by
calling them in great numbers round it and its ministers, either to
give their advice in matters of taste, or to serve as a decoration to
its power, and an additional lustre to the crown of glory with which
it is endeavouring to encircle itself; but, in general, the palpable,
substantial, and solid distinctions have been reserved for men of
science, chymists, naturalists, and mathematicians: they have seats
in the Senate, in the Tribunate, in the Council of State, and in all
the Administrations; while LAHARPE, the veteran of French literature,
is not even a member of the Institute, and is reduced to give
lessons, which are, undoubtedly, not only very interesting to the
public, but also very profitable to himself, and produce him as much
money, at least, as his knowledge has acquired him reputation.

It results from what I have said, that French literature has not
experienced any apparent injury from the revolutionary storm: it has
only changed its direction and means: it has still remaining talents
which have served their time, talents in their maturity, and talents
in a state of probation, and of much promise.

Persons of reflection entertain great hopes from the violent shock
given to men's minds by the revolution; from that silent inquietude
still working in their hearts; from that sap, full of life,
circulating with rapidity through this body politic. "The factions
are muzzled," say they; "but the factious spirit still ferments under
the curb of power; if means can be found to force it to evaporate on
objects which belong to the domain of illusion and sensibility, the
result will prove a great blessing to France, by carrying back to the
arts and to literature, and even to commerce, that exuberance of heat
and activity which can no longer be employed without danger on
political subjects."

The same men, whom I have just pointed out, affirm that England
herself will feel, in her literary and scientific system, a salutary
concussion from the direction given here to the public mind. They
expect with impatience that the British government will engage in
some great measure of public utility, in order that the rivalship
subsisting between the two nations on political and military points,
which have no longer any object, may soon become, in France, the most
active and most powerful vehicle for different parts of her interior
improvement.

Of all kinds of literature, _Epic Poetry_ is the only one in which
France has not obtained such success as to place her on a level with
TASSO and MILTON. To make amends, her poets have followed with
advantage the steps of ARIOSTO, without being able to surpass him.
From this school have issued two modern epic poems: _La guerre des
dieux payens contre les dieux chretiens_, by PARNY and _La conquete
de Naples_, by GUDIN. The former is distinguished by an easy
versification, and an imagination jocose and fertile, though,
certainly, far too licentious. Educated in the school of DORAT, he
possesses his redundance and grace, without his fatuity. His elegies
are worthy of TIBULLUS; and his fugitive pieces are at once dictated
by wit and sentiment: thus it was that CHAULIEU wrote, but with more
negligence. The latter has thought to compensate for the energy and
grace that should give life to his subject (which he considers only
in a playful and satirical light), by a truly tiresome multitude of
incidents. Conceive three huge volumes in octavo, for a poem which
required but one of a moderate size, and, in them, a versification
frequently negligent. These are two serious faults, which the French
will not readily overlook. No where are critics more severe, on the
one hand, against redundance that is steril, and on the other,
respecting the essential composition of verse, which ought always to
flow with grace, even when under restraint. Catholicism, however, has
no more reason to be pleased with the loose scenes presented in this
work, than christianity, in general, has with the licentious pictures
of PARNY; but GUDIN is far less dangerous to Rome, because he will be
less read.

Several authors have devoted their labours to _Tragedy_, during the
course of the revolution. CHENIER has produced a whole theatre, which
will remain to posterity, notwithstanding his faults, as he has
contrived to cover them with beauties. ARNAULT and MERCIER of
Compiegne are two young authors that seem to have been educated in
the school of DUCIS, who is at this day the father of all the present
tragic writers. The pieces which they have produced have met with
some success, and are of considerable promise.

_Comedy_ lost a vigorous supporter under the tyranny of ROBESPIERRE.
This was FABRE D'EGLANTINE. That poet seldom failed of success, drew
none but bold characters, and placed himself, by his own merit,
between MOLIERE and DESTOUCHES. COLIN D'HARLEVILLE and LEGOUVE
produce agreeable pieces which succeed. They paint, with an easy and
graceful pencil, the absurdities and humours of society; but their
pieces are deficient in plot and action. FABRE D'EGLANTINE
pourtrayed, in striking colours, those frightful vices which are
beyond the reach of the law. His pieces are strongly woven and easily
unravelled. PICARD seems to have taken GOLDONI, the celebrated
Venetian comic writer, for his model. Like him, an excellent painter,
a writer by impulse, he produces, with wonderful fecundity, a number
of interesting comedies, which make the audience laugh till they shed
tears, and how and then give great lessons. PALISSOT, CAILHAVA, and
MERCIER are still living; but no longer produce any thing striking.

I shall say little of French eloquence. Under the new form of
government, orators have less opportunity and less scope for
displaying transscendant talents than during the first years of the
revolution. Two members of the government, CAMBACERES and LEBRUN,
have distinguished themselves in this career by close, logical
argument, bright conceptions, and discriminating genius. BENJAMIN
CONSTANT and GUINGUENE, members of the Tribunate, shewed themselves
to advantage last year, as I understand, in some productions full of
energy and wisdom. DEMEUNIER and BOISSI D'ANGLAS are already, in the
Tribunate, veterans of eloquence; but the man who unites, in this
respect, all the approbation of that body, and even of France, is
DAUNOU. In exterior means he is deficient; but his thoughts proceed
at once from a warm heart and an open mind, guided by a superior
genius; and his expressions manifest the source from which they flow.

Several capital works of the historic kind have made their appearance
in France within the last ten years; but, with the exception of those
of celebrated voyagers or travellers, such as LA PEROUSE, BAUDIN,
SONNINI, LABILLARDIERE, OLIVIER, ANDRE MICHAUD, &c. those whose
object has been to treat of the arts, sciences, and manners of
Greece, such as the travels of Anacharsis, of Pythagoras, or of
Antenor; those whose subject has not been confined to France, such as
the _Precis de l'histoire generale_, by ANQUETIL; people ought to be
on their guard against the merit even of productions written
mediately or immediately on the revolution, its causes, and
consequences. The passions are not yet sufficiently calmed for us not
to suspect the spirit of party to interpose itself between men and
truth. The most splendid talents are frequently in this line only the
most faithless guide. It is affirmed, however, that there are a few
works which recommend themselves, by the most philosophic
impartiality; but none of these have as yet fallen under my
observation. A striking production is expected from the pen of the
celebrated VOLNEY. This is a _Tableau Physique des Etats Unis_; but
it is with regret I hear that its appearance is delayed by the
author's indisposition.

_Novels_ are born and die here, as among us, with astonishing
abundance. The rage for evocations and magic spectres begins to
diminish. The French assert that they have borrowed it from us, and
from the school of MRS. RADCLIFF, &c. &c. They also assert, that the
policy of the royalist-party was not unconnected with this
propagation of cavernous, cadaverous adventures, ideas, and
illusions, intended, they say, by the impression of a new moral
terror to infatuate their countrymen again with the dull and
soporific prestiges of popery. They see with joy that the taste for
pleasure has assumed the ascendency, at least in Paris, and that
novels in the English style no longer make any one tremble, at night
by the fireside, but the old beldams of the provincial departments.

The less important kinds of literature, such as the _Apologue_ or
_Moral Fable_, which is not at this day much in fashion; the
_Eclogue_ or _Idyl_, whose culture particularly belongs to agrestical
and picturesque regions; _Political Satire_, which is never more
refined than under the influence of arbitrary power; these kinds, to
which I might add the _Madrigal_ and _Epigram_, without being
altogether abandoned, are not generally enough cultivated here to
obtain special mention. I shall make an exception only in favour of
the pastoral poems of LECLERC (of Marne and Loire) of which I have
heard a very favourable account.

At the end of a revolution which has had periods so ensanguined,
_Romance_, (romantic poetry) must have been cultivated and held in
request. It has been so, especially by sentimental minds, and not a
little too through the spirit of party; this was likely to be the
case, since its most affecting characteristic is to mourn over tombs.

_Lyric poetry_ has been carried by LEBRUN, CHENIER, &c. to a height
worthy of JEAN BAPTISTE ROUSSEAU. The former, above all, will stand
his ground, by his weight, to the latest posterity; while hitherto
the lyric productions of CHENIER have not been able to dispense with
the charm of musical harmony. FONTANES, CUBIERES, PONS DE VERDUN,
BAOUR-LORNIAN, and DESPAZE are secondary geniuses, who do not make us
forget that DELISLE and the Chevalier BERTIN are still living; but
whose fugitive pieces sometimes display many charms.

When you shall be made acquainted that Paris, of all the cities in
the world, is that where the rage for dancing is the most
_nationalized_, where, from the gilded apartments of the most
fashionable quarters to the smoky chambers of the most obscure
suburbs, there are executed more capers in cadence, than in any other
place on earth, you will not be surprised if I reserve a special
article for one of the kinds of literature that bears the most
affinity to this distinctive diversion of the Parisian belles, which
has led MERCIER to say, that their city was the _guingette_ of
Europe; I mean _Song_. Perhaps, a subject new and curious to treat
on, would be the influence of vocal music on the French revolution.
Every one knows that this people marched to battle singing; but,
independently of the subject being above my abilities, it would carry
me too far beyond the limited plan which I have prescribed to myself.

Let it suffice for you to know, that there has existed in Paris a
sort of lyric manufactory, which, under the name of "_Diners du
vaudeville_" scrupulously performed, for several years, an engagement
to furnish, every month, a collection of songs very agreeable and
very captivating. These productions are pretty often full of
allusions, more or less veiled, to the political events of the
moment; seldom, however, have they been handled as very offensive
weapons against persons or institutions. The friends of mirth and
wine are seldom dark and dangerous politicians. This country
possesses a great number of them, who combine the talents required by
the gravest magistracy with all the levity of the most witty and most
cheerful _bon vivant_. I shall quote at random FRANCOIS DE
NEUFCHATEAU, the two SEGURS, PIIS, &c. &c. Others, such as BARRE,
DESFONTAINES, and RADET, confine themselves to their exclusive
functions of professed song-makers, and write only for the little
musical theatres, or for the leisure of their countrymen and their
evening-amusements.

It is impossible to terminate a sketch of the literature of France,
without saying a word of such of the _Journals_ as I have yet
perused, which are specially devoted to it. The _Mercure de France_
is one of those held in most esteem; and habit, as well as the spirit
of party, concurs in making the fortune of this journal. There exists
another, conducted by a member of the Institute, named POUGENS, under
the title of _Bibliotheque Francaise_, which is spoken of very
favourably. But that which appears every ten days, under the name of
_Decade Philosophique_, is the best production of the sort. A society
of literary men, prudent, well-informed, and warmly attached to their
country, are its authors, and deposit in it a well-digested analysis
of every thing new that appears in the arts, sciences, or literature.
Nevertheless, a labour so carefully performed, is perfectly
disinterested. This is the only enterprise of the kind that does not
afford a livelihood to its associates, and is supported by a zeal
altogether gratuitous.

Without seeking to blame or approve the title of this last-mentioned
journal, I shall only remark that the word _Decade_, coupled with the
word _Philosophique_, becomes in the eyes of many persons a double
cause of reprobation; and that, at this day, more than ever, those
two words are, in the opinion the most in fashion, marked by a
proscription that is reflected on every thing which belongs to the
science of philosophy.

This would be the moment to inquire into the secret or ostensible
causes which have led to the retrograde course that is to be remarked
in France in the ideas which have been hitherto reckoned as conducive
to the advancement of reason. This would be the moment to observe the
new government of France endeavouring to balance, the one by the
other, the opinions sprung from the Republic, and those daily
conjured up from the Monarchy; holding in _equilibrio_ two colours of
doctrines so diametrically opposite, and consequently two parties
equally dissatisfied at not being able to crush each other,
_neutralizing_ them, in short, by its immense influence in the
employment of their strength, when they bewilder or exhaust
themselves uselessly for its interests; but I could not touch on
these matters, without travelling out of the domain of literature,
which is the only one that is at present familiar to me, in order to
enter into yours, where you have not leisure to direct me; and you
may conceive with what an ill grace I should appear, in making before
you, in politics, excursions, which, probably, would have for me the
inconvenience of commanding great efforts, without leaving me the
hope of adding any thing to your stock of information.



LETTER XXXV.

_Paris, December 18, 1801._

Divided as Paris is by the Seine, it seldom happens that one has not
occasion to cross it more than once in the course of the day. I shall
therefore make you acquainted with the bridges which connect to its
banks the islands situated in that part of the river I have not yet

described. Being out of my general track, I might otherwise forget to
make any further mention of them, which would be a manifest omission,
now you have before you the Plan of Paris.

We will also embrace the opportunity of visiting the _Palais de
Justice_ and the Cathedral of _Notre-Dame_. East of the _Pont-Neuf_,
we first arrive at the

PONT AU CHANGE.

This bridge, which leads from the north bank of the Seine to the _Ile
du Palais_, is one of the most ancient in Paris. Though, like all
those of which I have now to speak, it crosses but one channel of the
river, it was called the _Grand Pont_, till the year 1141, when it
acquired its present name on Lewis VII establishing here all the
money-changers of Paris.

It was also called _Pont aux Oiseaux_, because bird-sellers were
permitted to carry on their business here, on condition of letting
loose two hundred dozen of birds, at the moment when kings and queens
passed, in their way to the cathedral, on the day of their public
entry. By this custom, it was intended to signify that, if the people
had been oppressed in the preceding reign, their rights, privileges,
and liberties would be fully re-established under the new monarch.

On the public entry of Isabeau de Baviere, wife of Charles VI, a
Genoese stretched a rope from the top of the towers of _Notre-Dame_
to one of the houses on this bridge: he thence descended, dancing on
this rope, with a lighted torch in each hand. Habited as an angel, he
placed a crown on the head of the new queen, and reascending his
rope, he appeared again in the air. The chronicle adds that, as it
was already dark, he was seen by all Paris and the environs.

This bridge was then of wood, and covered with houses also of wood.
Two fires, one of which happened in 1621, and the other in 1639,
occasioned it to be rebuilt of stone in 1647.

The _Pont au Change_ consists of seven arches. Previously to the
demolition of the houses, which, till 1786, stood on each side of
this bridge, the passage was sufficiently wide for three carriages.

Traversing the _Ile du Palais_ from north to south, in order to
proceed from the _Pont au Change_ to the _Pont St. Michel_, we pass
in front of the

PALAIS DE JUSTICE.

Towards the end of the ninth century, this palace was begun by Eudes.
It was successively enlarged by Robert, son of Hugh Capet, by St.
Lewis, and by Philip the Fair. Under Charles V, who abandoned it to
occupy the _Hotel St. Paul_, which he had built, it was nothing more
than an assemblage of large towers, communicating with each other by
galleries. In 1383, Charles VI made it his residence. In 1431,
Charles VII relinquished it to the Parliament of Paris. However,
Francis I. took up his abode here for some time.

It was in the great hall of this palace that the kings of France
formerly received ambassadors, and gave public entertainments.

On Whitsunday, 1313, Philip the Fair here knighted his three sons,
with all the ceremonies of ancient chivalry. The king of England, our
unfortunate Edward II, and his abominable queen Isabella, who were
invited, crossed the sea on purpose, and were present at this
entertainment, together with a great number of English barons. It
lasted eight days, and is spoken of, by historians, as a most
sumptuous banquet.

This magnificent hall, as well as great part of the palace, being
reduced to ashes in 1618, it was rebuilt, in its present state, under
the direction of that skilful architect, JACQUES DE BROSSES. It is
both spacious and majestic, and is the only hall of the kind in
France: the arches and arcades which support it are of hewn stone.

Another fire, which happened in 1776, consumed all the part extending
from the gallery of prisoners to the _Sainte Chapelle_, founded by
St. Lewis, and where, before the revolution, were shewn a number of
costly relics. The ravages occasioned by this fire, were repaired in
1787, and the space in front laid open by the erection of uniform
buildings in the form of a crescent. To two gloomy gothic gates has
been substituted an iron railing, of one hundred and twenty feet in
extent, through which is seen a spacious court formed by two wings of
new edifices, and a majestic facade that affords an entrance to the
interior of the palace.

In this court Madame La Motte, who, in 1786, made so conspicuous a
figure in the noted affair of the diamond necklace, was publicly
whipped. I was in Paris at the time, though not present at the
execution of the sentence.

In the railing, are three gates, the centre one of which is charged
with garlands and other gilt ornaments. At the two ends are pavilions
decorated with four Doric pillars. Towards the _Pont St. Michel_ is a
continuation of the building ornamented with a bas-relief, at present
denominated _Le serment civique_.

At the top of a flight of steps, is an avant-corps, with four Doric
columns, a balustrade above the entablature, four statues standing on
a level with the base of the pillars, and behind, a square dome.

These steps lead you to the _Merciere_ gallery, having on the one
side, the _Sainte Chapelle_, and on the other, the great hall, called
the _Salle des Procureurs_. In this extensive hall are shops, for the
sale of eatables and pamphlets, which, since the suppression of the
Parliament, seem to have little custom, as well as those of the
milliners, &c. in the other galleries.

In what was formerly called the _grande chambre_, where the
Parliament of Paris used to sit, the ill-fated Lewis XVI, in 1788,
held the famous bed of justice, in which D'ESPRESMENIL, one of the
members of that body, struck the first blow at royalty; a blow that
was revenged by a _lettre de cachet_, which exiled him to the _Ile de
St. Marguerite_, famous for being the place of confinement of the
great personage who was always compelled to wear an _iron mask_. The
courage of this counsellor, who was a noble and deputy of the
_noblesse_, may be considered as the _primum mobile_ of the
revolution. Under the despotism of the court, he braved all its
vengeance; but, in the sequel, he afforded a singular proof of the
instability of the human mind. After haying stirred up all the
parliaments against the royal authority, he again became the humble
servant of the crown.

After the revolution, the _Palais de Justice_ became the seat of the
Revolutionary Tribunal, where the satellites of Robespierre, not
content with sending to the scaffold sixty victims at a time,
complained of the insufficiency of their means for bringing to trial
all the enemies of liberty. Dumas, at one time president of this
sanguinary tribunal, proposed to his colleagues to join to the hall,
where the tribunal sat, part of the great hall of the palace, in
order to assemble there five or six hundred victims at a time; and on
its being observed to him that such a sight might in the end disgust
the people; "Well," said he, "there's but one method of accomplishing
our object, without any obstacle, that is to erect a guillotine in
the court-yard of every prison, and cause the prisoners to be
executed there during the night." Had not Robespierre's downfall
involved that of all his blood-thirsty dependents, there seems no
doubt that this plan would have been carried into speedy execution.

Nothing can paint the vicissitude of human events in colours more
striking than the transitions of this critical period. Dumas who made
this proposal, and had partially satisfied his merciless disposition
by signing, a few hours before, the death-warrant of sixty victims,
was the very next day brought before the same tribunal, composed of
his accomplices, or rather his creatures, and by them condemned to
die. Thus did experience confirm the general observation, that the
multiplicity and enormity of punishments announces an approaching
revolution. The torrents of blood which tyrants shed, are, in the
end, swelled by their own.

In lieu of a tribunal of blood, the _Palais de Justice_ is now
appropriated to the sittings of the three tribunals, designated by
the following titles: _Tribunal de cassation_, _Tribunal d'appel_,
and _Tribunal de premiere instance_. The first of these, the
_Tribunal de cassation_, occupies the audience-chambers of the late
parliament; while the _grande chambre_ is appointed for the meetings
of its united Sections. The decoration of this spacious apartment is
entirely changed: it is embellished in the antique style; and a
person in contemplating it might fancy himself at Athens.

Adjoining to the _Palais de Justice_, is the famous prison, so
dreaded in the early periods of the revolution, called

LA CONCIERGERIE.

From this fatal abode, neither talent, virtue, nor patriotism could,
at one time, secure those who possessed such enviable qualities.
Lavoisier, Malsherbes, Condorcet, &c. were here successively immured,
previously to being sent to the guillotine. Here too the unfortunate
Marie-Antoinette lived in a comfortless manner, from the 2nd of July,
1793, to the 13th of October following, the period of her
condemnation.

On being reconducted to the prison, at four o'clock in the morning,
after hearing her sentence read, the hapless queen displayed a
fortitude worthy of the daughter of the high-minded Maria Theresa.
She requested a few hours' respite, to compose her mind, and
entreated to be left to herself in the room which she had till then
occupied. The moment she was alone, she first cut off her hair, and
then laying aside her widow's weeds, which she had always worn since
the death of the king, put on a white dress, and threw herself on her
bed, where she slept till eleven o'clock the same morning, when she
was awakened, in order to be taken to the scaffold.

Continuing to cross the _Ile du Palais_ in a direction towards the
south, we presently reach the

PONT ST. MICHEL.

This bridge stands in a direct line with the _Pont au Change_, and is
situated on the south channel of the river. It was formerly of wood:
but having been frequently destroyed, it was rebuilt with stone in
1618, and covered on both sides with houses. From the _Pont Neuf_,
the back of these buildings has a most disagreeable and filthy
appearance. It is said that they are to be taken down, as those have
been which stood on the other bridges.

In severe winters, when there is much ice in the river, it is
curious, on the breaking up of the frost, to behold families
deserting their habitations, like so many rats, and carrying with
them their valuables, from the apprehension that these crazy
tenements might fall into the river. This wise precaution is
suggested by the knowledge of these bridges, when built of wood,
having been often swept away by ice or great inundations.

The _Pont St. Michel_ consists of four arches. Its length is two
hundred and sixty-eight feet, by sixty in breadth, including the
houses, between which is a passage for three carriages.

If, to avoid being entangled in narrow, dirty streets, we return, by
the same route, to the north bank of the Seine, and proceed to the
westward, along the _Quai de Gevres_, which is partly built on piles,
driven into the bed of the river, we shall come to the

PONT NOTRE-DAME.

A wooden bridge, which previously existed here, having been
frequently carried away by inundations, Lewis XII ordered the
construction of the present one of stone, which was begun in 1499,
and completed in 1507. It was built from the plan of one JOCONDE, a
Cordelier, and native of Verona, and is generally admired for the
solidity, as well as beauty of its architecture. It consists of six
arches, and is two hundred and seventy-six feet in length. Formerly
it was bordered by houses, which were taken down in 1786: this has
rendered the quarter more airy, and consequently more salubrious.

It was on this bridge that the Pope's Legate reviewed the
ecclesiastical infantry of the League, on the the 3d of June, 1590.
Capuchins, Minimes, Cordeliers, Jacobins or Dominicans, Feuillans,
&c. all with their robe tucked up, their cowl thrown behind, a helmet
on their head, a coat of mail on their body, a sword by their side,
and a musquet on their shoulder, marched four by four, headed by the
reverend bishop of Senlis, bearing a spontoon. But some of this holy
soldiery, forgetting that their pieces were loaded with ball, wished
to salute the Legate, and killed by his side one of his chaplains.
His Eminence finding that it began to grow hot at this review,
hastened to give his benediction, and vanished.


_December 18, in continuation_.

Traversing once more two-thirds of the _Ile du Palais_ in a direction
from north to south, and then striking off to the east, up the _Rue
de Callandre_, we reach the

CATHEDRAL OF NOTRE-DAME.

This church, the first ever built in Paris, was begun about the year
375, under the reign of the emperor Valentinian I. It was then called
_St. Etienne_ or _St. Stephen's_, and there was as yet no other
within the walls of this city in 1522, when Childebert, son of
Clovis, repaired and enlarged it, adding to it a new basilic, which
was dedicated to _Notre Dame_ or Our Lady.

More anciently, under Tiberius, there had been, on the same spot, an
altar in the open air, dedicated to Jupiter and other pagan gods,
part of which is still in being at the MUSEUM OF FRENCH MONUMENTS, in
the _Rue des Petits Augustins_.

These two churches existed till about the year 1160, under the reign
of Lewis the Young, when the construction of the present cathedral
was begun partly on their foundations. It was not finished till 1185,
during the reign of Philip Augustus.

This Gothic Church is one of the handsomest and most spacious in
France. It has a majestic and venerable appearance, and is supported
by one hundred and twenty clustered columns. Its length is three
hundred and ninety feet by one hundred and forty-four in breadth, and
one hundred and two in height.

We must not expect to find standing here the twenty-six kings,
benefactors of this church, from Childeric I to Philip Augustus,
fourteen feet high, who figured on the same line, above the three
doors of the principal facade. They have all fallen under the blows
of the iconoclasts, and are now piled up behind the church. There lie
round-bellied Charlemagne, with his pipe in his mouth, and Pepin the
Short, with his sword in his hand, and a lion, the emblem of courage,
under his feet. The latter, like Tydeus, mentioned in the Iliad,
though small in stature, was stout in heart, as appears from the
following anecdote related of him by the monk of St. Gal.

In former times, as is well known, kings took a delight in setting
wild beasts and ferocious animals to fight against each other. At one
of thege fights, between a lion and a bull, in the abbey of
Ferrieres, Pepin the Short, who knew that some noblemen were daily
exercising their pleasantry on his small stature, addressed to them
this question: "Which of you feels himself bold enough to kill or
separate those terrible animals?" Seeing that not one of them stepped
forward, and that the proposal alone made them shudder: "Well," added
he, "'tis I then who will perform the feat." He accordingly descended
from his place, drew his sword, killed the lion, at another stroke
cut off the head of the bull, and then looking fiercely at the
railers: "Know," said he to them, "that stature adds nothing to
courage, and that I shall find means to bring to the ground the proud
persons who shall dare to despise me, as little David laid low the
great giant Goliah." Hence the attribute given to the statue of king
Pepin, which not long since adorned the facade of _Notre-Dame_.

The groups of angels, saints, and patriarchs, which, no doubt, owe
their present existence only to their great number, still present to
the eye of the observer that burlesque mixture of the profane and
religious, so common in the symbolical representations of the twelfth
century. These figures adorn the triple row of indented borders of
the arches of the three doors.

Two enormous square towers, each two hundred and two feet in height,
and terminated by a platform, decorate each end of the cathedral. The
ascent to them is by a winding staircase of three hundred and
eighty-nine steps, and their communication is by a gallery which
has no support but Gothic pillars of a lightness that excites
admiration.

Independently of the six bells, which have disappeared with the
little belfry that contained them, in the two towers were ten, one of
which weighed forty-four thousand pounds.

At the foot of the north tower is the rural calendar or zodiac, which
has been described by M. Le Gentil, member of the Academy of
Sciences. The Goths had borrowed from the Indians this custom of thus
representing rustic labours at the entrance of their temples.

Another Gothic bas-relief, which is seen on the left, in entering by
the great door, undoubtedly represents that condemned soul who,
tradition says, rose from his bier, during divine service, in order
to pronounce his own damnation.

None of the forty-five chapels have preserved the smallest vestige of
their ornaments. Those which escaped the destructive rage of the
modern Vandals, have been transported to the MUSEUM OF FRENCH
MONUMENTS. The most remarkable are the statue of Pierre de Gondi,
archbishop of Paris, the mausoleum of the Conte d'Harcourt, designed
by his widow, the modern Artemisia, and executed by Pigalle, together
with the group representing the vow of St. Lewis, by Costou the
elder. Six angels in bronze, which were seen at the further end of
the choir, have also been removed thither.

The stalls present, in square and oval compartments, bas-reliefs very
delicately sculptured, representing subjects taken from the life of
the Holy Virgin and from the New Testament. Of the two episcopal
pulpits, which are at the further end, the one, that of the
archbishop, represents the martyrdom of St. Denis; the other,
opposite, the cure of king Childebert, by the intercession of St.
Germain.

Some old tapestry, hung scantily round the choir, makes one regret
the handsome iron railing, so richly wrought, by which it was
inclosed, and some valuable pictures, which now figure in the grand
Gallery of the CENTRAL MUSEUM OF THE ARTS.

The nave, quite as naked as the choir and the sanctuary, had been
enriched, as far as the space would admit, with pictures, twelve feet
high, given for a long time, on every first of May, by the
Goldsmiths' company and the fraternity of St. Anne and St. Marcel.

On the last pillar of the nave, on the right, was the equestrian
statue of Philip of Valois. That king was here represented on
horseback, with his vizor down, sword in hand, and armed cap-a-pie,
in the very manner in which he rode into the cathedral of
_Notre-Dame_, in 1328, after the battle of Cassel. At the foot of
the altar he left his horse, together with his armour, which he had
worn in the battle, as an offering to the Holy Virgin, after having
returned thanks to God and to her, say historians, for the victory
he had obtained through her intercession.

Above the lateral alleys, as well of the choir as of the nave, are
large galleries, separated by little pillars of a single piece, and
bordered by iron balustrades. Here spectators place themselves to see
grand ceremonies. From their balconies were formerly suspended the
colours taken from the enemy: these are now displayed in the _Temple
of Mars_ at the HOTEL DES INVALIDES.

The organ, which appears to have suffered no injury, is reckoned one
of the loudest and most complete in France. It is related that
Daquin, an incomparable organist, who died in 1781, once imitated the
nightingale on it so perfectly, that the beadle was sent on the roof
of the church, to endeavour to discover the musical bird.

Some of the stained glass is beautiful. Two roses, restored to their
original state, the one on the side of the archipiscopal palace in
1726, and the other above the organ, in 1780, prove by their lustre,
that the moderns are not so inferior to the ancients, in the art of
painting on glass, as is commonly imagined.

Should your curiosity lead you to contemplate the house of Fulbert,
the canon, the supposed uncle to the tender Heloise, where that
celebrated woman passed her youthful days, you must enter, by the
cloister of _Notre-Dame_, into the street that leads to the _Pont
Rouge_, since removed. It is the last house on the right under the
arcade, and is easily distinguished by two medallions in stone,
preserved on the facade, though it has been several times rebuilt
during the space of six hundred years. All the authors who have
written on the antiquities of Paris, speak of these medallions as
being real portraits of Abelard and Heloise. It is presumable that
they were so originally; but, without being a connoisseur, any one
may discover that the dresses of these figures are far more modern
than those peculiar to the twelfth century; whence it may be
concluded that the original portraits having been destroyed by time,
or by the alterations which the house has undergone, these busts have
been executed by some more modern sculptor of no great talents.

Leaving the cathedral, by the _Rue Notre-Dame_, and turning to the
left, on reaching the _Marche Palu_, we come to the

PETIT PONT.

Like the _Pont St. Michel_, this bridge is situated on the south
channel of the river, and stands in a direct line with the _Pont
Notre-Dame_. It originally owed its construction to the following
circumstance.

Four Jews, accused of having killed one of their converted brethren,
were condemned to be publicly whipped through all the streets of the
city, on four successive Sundays. After having suffered the half of
their sentence, to redeem themselves from the other half, they paid
18,000 francs of gold. This sum was appropriated to the erection of
the _Petit Pont_, the first stone of which was laid by Charles VI, in
1395.

In 1718, two barges, loaded with hay, caught fire, and being cut
loose, drifted under the arches of this bridge, which, in the space
of four hours, was consumed, together with the houses standing on it.
The following year it was rebuilt, but without houses.

Proceeding to the east, along the quays of the _Ile du Palais_, you
will find the

PONT AU DOUBLE.

This little bridge, situated behind the _Hotel-Dieu_, of which I
shall speak hereafter, is destined for foot-passengers only, as was
the _Pont Rouge_. The latter was the point of communication between
the _Cite_ and the _Ile St. Louis_; but the frequent reparations
which it required, occasioned it to be removed in 1791, though, by
the Plan of Paris, it still appears to be in existence. However, it
is in contemplation to replace it by another of stone.[1]

Supposing that you have regained the north bank of the Seine, by
means of the _Pont Notre-Dame_, you follow the quays, which skirt
that shore, till you reach the

PONT MARIE.

This bridge forms a communication between the _Port St. Paul_ and the
_Ile St. Louis_. The _Pont Marie_ was named after the engineer who
engaged with Henry IV to build it; but that prince having been
assassinated; the young king, Lewis XIII, and the queen dowager, laid
the first stone in 1614: it was finished, and bordered with houses,
in 1635. It consists of five arches. Its length is three hundred feet
by sixty-two in breadth. An inundation having carried away two of the
arches, in 1658, they were repaired without the addition of houses,
and in 1789, the others were removed.

Passing through the _Rue des Deux Ponts_, which lies in a direct line
with the _Pont Marie_, we arrive at the

PONT DE LA TOURNELLE.

This bridge takes its name from the _Chateau de la Tournelle_,
contiguous to the _Porte St. Bernard_, where the galley-slaves used
formerly to be lodged, till they were sent off to the different
public works. It consists of six arches of solid construction, and is
bordered on each side by a foot-pavement.

You are now acquainted with all the bridges in Paris; but should you
prefer crossing the Seine in a boat, there are several ferries
between the bridges, and at other convenient places. Here, you may
always meet with a waterman, who, for the sum of one _sou_, will
carry you over, whether master or lackey. Like the old ferryman
Charon, he makes no distinction of persons.

[Footnote 1: Workmen are, at this moment, employed in the
construction of three new bridges. The first, already mentioned, will
form a communication between the _ci-devant College des Quatre
Nations_ and the _Louvre_; the second, between the _Ile du Palais_
and the _Ile St. Louis_; and the third, between the _Jardin des
Plantes_ and the Arsenal.]



LETTER XXXVI.

_Paris, December 20, 1801._

What a charming abode is Paris, for a man who can afford to live at
the rate of a thousand or fifteen hundred pounds a year! Pleasures
wait not for him to go in quest of them; they come to him of their
own accord; they spring up, in a manner, under his very feet, and
form around him an officious retinue. Every moment of the day can
present a new gratification to him who knows how to enjoy it; and,
with prudent management, the longest life even would not easily
exhaust so ample a stock.

Paris has long been termed an epitome of the world. But, perhaps,
never could this denomination be applied to it with so much propriety
as at the present moment. The chances of war have not only rendered
it the centre of the fine arts, the museum of the most celebrated
masterpieces in existence, the emporium where the luxury of Europe
comes to procure its superfluities; but the taste for pleasure has
also found means to assemble here all the enjoyments which Nature
seemed to have exclusively appropriated to other climates.

Every country has its charms and advantages. Paris alone appears to
combine them all. Every region, every corner of the globe seems to
vie in hastening to forward hither the tribute of its productions.
Are you an epicure? No delicacy of the table but may be eaten in
Paris.--Are you a toper? No delicious wine but may be drunk, in
Paris.--Are you fond of frequenting places of public entertainment?
No sort of spectacle but may be seen in Paris.--Are you desirous of
improving your mind? No kind of instruction but may be acquired in
Paris.--Are you an admirer of the fair sex? No description of female
beauty but may be obtained in Paris.--Are you partial to the society
of men of extraordinary talents? No great genius but comes to display
his knowledge in Paris.--Are you inclined to discuss military topics?
No hero but brings his laurels to Paris.--In a word, every person,
favoured by Nature or Fortune, flies to enjoy the gifts of either in
Paris. Even every place celebrated in the annals of voluptuousness,
is, as it were, reproduced in Paris, which, in some shape or another,
presents its name or image.

Without going out of this capital, you may, in the season when Nature
puts on her verdant livery, visit _Idalium_, present your incense to
the Graces, and adore, in her temple, the queen of love; while at
_Tivoli_, you may, perhaps, find as many beauties and charms as were
formerly admired at the enchanting spot on the banks of the Anio,
which, under its ancient name of _Tibur_, was so extolled by the
Latin poets; and close to the Boulevard, at _Frascati_, you may, in
that gay season, eat ices as good as those with which Cardinal de
Bernis used to regale his visiters, at his charming villa in the
_Campagna di Roma_. Who therefore need travel farther than Paris to
enjoy every gratification?

If then, towards the close of a war, the most frightful and
destructive that ever was waged, the useful and agreeable seem to
have proceeded here hand in hand in improvement, what may not be
expected in the tranquillity of a few years' peace? Who knows but the
emperor Julian's "_dear Lutetia_" may one day vie in splendour with
Thebes and its hundred gates, or ancient Rome covering its seven
mountains?

However, if _Tivoli_ and _Frascati_ throw open their delightful
recesses to the votaries of pleasure only in spring and summer, even
now, during the fogs of December, you may repair to

PAPHOS.

It might almost be said that you enter this place of amusement
gratis, for, though a slight tribute of seventy-five _centimes_
(_circa_ seven-pence halfpenny sterling) is required for the
admission of every person, yet you may take refreshment to the amount
of that sum, without again putting your hand into your pocket;
because the counter mark, given at the door, is received at the bar
as ready-money.

This speculation, the first of the kind in France, and one of the
most specious, is, by all accounts, also one of the most productive.
It would be too rigorous, no doubt, to compare the frequenters of the
modern PAPHOS to the inhabitants of the ancient. Here, indeed, you
must neither look for _elegantes_, nor _muscadins_; but you may view
belles, less gifted by Fortune, indulging in innocent recreation; and
for a while dispelling their cares, by dancing to the exhilarating
music of an orchestra not ill composed. Here, the grisette banishes
the _ennui_ of six days' application to the labours of her industry,
by footing it away on Sunday. Hither, in short, the less refined sons
and daughters of mirth repair to see and be seen, and to partake of
the general diversion.

PAPHOS is situated on that part of the Boulevard, called the
_Boulevard du Temple_, whither I was led the other evening by that
sort of curiosity, which can be satisfied only when the objects that
afford it aliment are exhausted. I had just come out of another place
of public amusement, at no great distance, called

LA PHANTASMAGORIE.

This is an exhibition in the _Cour des Capucines_, adjoining to the
Boulevard, where ROBERTSON, a skilful professor of physics, amuses or
terrifies his audience by the appearance of spectres, phantoms, &c.
In the piece which I saw, called _Le Tombeau de Robespierre_, he
carries illusion to an extraordinary degree of refinement. His
cabinet of physics is rich, and his effects of optics are managed in
the true style of French gallantry. His experiments of galvanism
excite admiration. He repeats the difficult ones of M. VOLTA, and
clearly demonstrates the electrical phenomena presented by the
metallic pile. A hundred disks of silver and a hundred pieces of zinc
are sufficient for him to produce attractions, sparks, the divergency
of the electrometer, and electric hail. He charges a hundred Leyden
bottles by the simple contact of the metallic pile. ROBERTSON, I
understand, is the first who has made these experiments in Paris, and
has succeeded in discharging VOLTA's pistol by the galvanic spark.

FITZJAMES, a famous ventriloquist, entertains and astonishes the
company by a display of his powers, which are truly surprising.

You may, perhaps, be desirous to procure your family circle the
satisfaction of enjoying the _Phantasmagoria_, though not on the
grand scale on which it is exhibited by ROBERTSON. By the
communication of a friend, I am happy in being enabled to make you
master of the secret, as nothing can be more useful in the education
of children than to banish from their mind the deceitful illusion of
ghosts and hobgoblins, which they are so apt to imbibe from their
nurses. But to the point--"You have," says my author, "only to call
in the first itinerant foreigner, who perambulates the streets with a
_galantee-show_ (as it is commonly termed in London), and by
imparting to him your wish, if he is not deficient in intelligence
and skill, he will soon be able to give you a rehearsal of the
apparition of phantoms: for, by approaching or withdrawing the stand
of his show, and finding the focus of his glasses, you will see the
objects diminish or enlarge either on the white wall, or the sheet
that is extended.

"The illusion which leads us to imagine that an object which
increases in all its parts, is advancing towards us, is the basis of
the _Phantasmagoria_, and, in order to produce it with the
_galantee-show_, you have only to withdraw slowly the lantern from
the place on which the image is represented, by approaching the outer
lens to that on which the object is traced: this is easily done, that
glass being fixed in a moveable tube like that of an opera-glass.
As for approaching the lantern gradually, it may be effected with the
same facility, by placing it on a little table with castors, and, by
means of a very simple mechanism, it is evident that both these
movements may be executed together in suitable progression.

"The deception recurred to by phantasmagorists is further increased
by the mystery that conceals, from the eyes of the public, their
operations and optical instruments: but it is easy for the showman to
snatch from them this superiority, and to strengthen the illusion for
the children whom you choose to amuse with this sight. For that
purpose, he has only to change the arrangement of the sheet, by
requiring it to be suspended from the ceiling, between him and the
spectators, much in the same manner as the curtain of a playhouse,
which separates the stage from the public. The transparency of the
cloth shews through it the coloured rays, and, provided it be not of
too thick and too close a texture, the image presents itself as clear
on the one side as on the other.

"If to these easy means you could unite those employed by ROBERTSON,
such as the black hangings, which absorb the coloured rays, the
little musical preparations, and others, you might transform all the
_galantee-shows_ into as many _phantasmagorias_, in spite of the
priority of invention, which belongs, conscientiously, to Father
KIRCHER, a German Jesuit, who first found means to apply his
knowledge respecting light to the construction of the magic lantern.

"The coloured figures, exhibited by the phatasmagorists, have no
relation to these effects of light: they are effigies covered with
gold-beater's skin, or any other transparent substance, in which is
placed a dark lantern. The light of this lantern is extinguished or
concealed by pulling a string, or touching a spring, at the moment
when any one wishes to seize on the figure, which, by this
contrivance, seems to disappear.

"The proprietors of the grand exhibitions of _phantasmagoria_ join to
these simple means a combination of different effects, which they
partly derive from the phenomena, presented by the _camera obscura_.
Some faint idea of that part of physics, called optics, which NEWTON
illuminated, by his genius and experience, are sufficient for
conceiving the manner in which these appearances are produced, though
they require instruments and particular care to give them proper
effect."

Such is the elucidation given of the _phantasmagoria_ by an
intelligent observer, whose friend favoured me with this
communication.



LETTER XXXVII.

_Paris, December 21, 1801._

If Paris affords a thousand enjoyments to the man of fortune, it may
truly be said that, without money, Paris is the most melancholy abode
in the world. Privations are then the more painful, because desires
and even wants are rendered more poignant by the ostentatious display
of every object which might satisfy them. What more cruel for an
unfortunate fellow, with an empty purse, than to pass by the kitchen
of a _restaurateur_, when, pinched by hunger, he has not the means of
procuring himself a dinner? His olfactory nerves being still more
readily affected when his stomach is empty, far from affording him a
pleasing sensation, then serve only to sharpen the torment which he
suffers. It is worse than the punishment of Tantalus, who, dying with
thirst, could not drink, though up to his chin in water.

Really, my dear friend, I would advise every rich epicure to fix his
residence in this city. Without being plagued by the details of
housekeeping, or even at the trouble of looking at a bill of fare, he
might feast his eye, and his appetite too, on the inviting plumpness
of a turkey, stuffed with truffles. A boar's head set before him,
with a Seville orange between its tusks, might make him fancy that he
was discussing the greatest interests of mankind at the table of an
Austrian Prime Minister, or British Secretary of State; while _pates_
of _Chartres_ or of _Perigord_ hold out to his discriminating palate
all the refinements of French seasoning. These, and an endless
variety of other dainties, no less tempting, might he contemplate
here, in walking past a _magazin de comestibles_ or
provision-warehouse.

Among the changes introduced here, within these few years, I had
heard much of the improvements in the culinary art, or rather in the
manner of serving up its productions; but, on my first arrival in
Paris, I was so constantly engaged in a succession of dinner-parties,
that some time elapsed before I could avail myself of an opportunity
of dining at the house of any of the fashionable

RESTAURATEURS.

This is a title of no very ancient date in Paris. _Traiteurs_ have
long existed here: independently of furnishing repasts at home, these
_traiteurs_, like Birch in Cornhill, or any other famous London cook,
sent out dinners and suppers. But, in 1765, one BOULANGER conceived
the idea of _restoring_ the exhausted animal functions of the
debilitated Parisians by rich soups of various denominations. Not
being a _traiteur_, it appears that he was not authorized to serve
ragouts; he therefore, in addition to his _restorative_ soups, set
before his customers new-laid eggs and boiled fowl with strong gravy
sauce: those articles were served up without a cloth, on little
marble tables. Over his door he placed the following inscription,
borrowed from Scripture: "_Venite ad me omnes qui stomacho laboratis,
et ego restaurabo vos._"

Such was the origin of the word and profession of _restaurateur_.

Other cooks, in imitation of BOULANGER, set up as _restorers_, on a
similar plan, in all the places of public entertainment where such
establishments were admissible. Novelty, fashion, and, above all,
dearness, brought them into vogue. Many a person who would have been
ashamed to be seen going into a _traiteur's_, made no hesitation of
entering a _restaurateur's_, where he paid nearly double the price
for a dinner of the same description. However, as, in all trades, it
is the great number of customers that enrich the trader, rather than
the select few, the _restaurateurs_, in order to make their business
answer, were soon under the necessity of constituting themselves
_traiteurs_; so that, in lieu of one title, they now possess two; and
this is the grand result of the primitive establishment.

At the head of the most noted _restaurateurs_ in Paris, previously to
the revolution, was LA BARRIERE in the _ci-devant Palais Royal_; but,
though his larder was always provided with choice food, his cellar
furnished with good wines, his bill of fare long, and the number of
his customers considerable, yet his profits, he said, were not
sufficiently great to allow him to cover his tables with linen. This
omission was supplied by green wax cloth; a piece of economy which,
he declared, produced him a saving of near 10,000 livres (_circa_
400L sterling) per annum in the single article of washing. Hence you
may form an idea of the extent of such an undertaking. I have often
dined at LA BARRIERE'S was always well served, at a moderate charge,
and with remarkable expedition. Much about that time, BEAUVILLIERS,
who had opened, within the same precincts, a similar establishment,
but on a more refined plan, proved a most formidable rival to LA
BARRIERE, and at length eclipsed him.

After a lapse of almost eleven years, I again find this identical
BEAUVILLIERS still in the full enjoyment of the greatest celebrity.
ROBERT and NAUDET in the _Palais du Tribunat_, and VERY on the
_Terrace des Feuillant_ dispute with him the palm in the art of
Apicius. All these, it is true, furnish excellent repasts, and their
wines are not inferior to their cooking: but, after more than one
impartial trial, I think I am justified in giving the preference to
BEAUVILLIERS. Let us then take a view of his arrangements: this, with
a few variations in price or quality, will serve as a general picture
of the _ars coquinaria_ in Paris.

On the first floor of a large hotel, formerly occupied, perhaps, by a
farmer-general, you enter a suite of apartments, decorated with
arabesques, and mirrors of large dimensions, in a style no less
elegant than splendid, where tables are completely arranged for large
or small parties. In winter, these rooms are warmed by ornamental
stoves, and lighted by _quinquets_, a species of Argand's lamps. They
are capable of accommodating from two hundred and fifty to three
hundred persons, and, at this time of the year, the average number
that dine here daily is about two hundred; in summer, it is
considerably decreased by the attractions of the country, and the
parties of pleasure made, in consequence, to the environs of the
capital.

On the left hand, as you pass into the first room, rises a sort of
throne, not unlike the _estrado_ in the grand audience-chamber of a
Spanish viceroy. This throne is encircled by a barrier to keep
intruders at a respectful distance. Here sits a lady, who, from her
majestic gravity and dignified bulk, you might very naturally suppose
to be an empress, revolving in her comprehensive mind the affairs of
her vast dominions. This respectable personage is Madame
BEAUVILLIERS, whose most interesting concern is to collect from the
gentlemen in waiting the cash which they receive at the different
tables. In this important branch, she has the assistance of a lady,
somewhat younger than herself, who, seated by her side, in stately
silence, has every appearance of a maid of honour. A person in
waiting near the throne, from his vacant look and obsequious
carriage, might, at first sight, be taken for a chamberlain; whereas
his real office, by no means an unimportant one, is to distribute
into deserts the fruit and other _et ceteras_, piled up within his
reach in tempting profusion.

We will take our seats in this corner, whence, without laying down
our knife and fork, we can enjoy a full view of the company as they
enter. We are rather early: by the clock, I perceive that it is no
more than five: at six, however, there will scarcely be a vacant seat
at any of the tables. "_Garcon, la carte_!"--"_La voila devant vous,
Monsieur._"

Good heaven! the bill of fare is a printed sheet of double _folio_,
of the size of an English newspaper. It will require half an hour at
least to con over this important catalogue. Let us see; Soups,
thirteen sorts.--_Hors-d'oeuvres_, twenty-two species.--Beef, dressed
in eleven different ways.--Pastry, containing fish, flesh and fowl,
in eleven shapes. Poultry and game, under thirty-two various forms.
--Veal, amplified into twenty-two distinct articles.--Mutton, confined
to seventeen only.--Fish, twenty-three varieties.--Roast meat, game,
and poultry, of fifteen kinds.--Entremets, or side-dishes, to the
number of forty-one articles.--Desert, thirty-nine.--Wines, including
those of the liqueur kind, of fifty-two denominations, besides ale
and porter.--Liqueurs, twelve species, together with coffee and ices.

Fudge! fudge! you cry--Pardon me, my good friend, 'tis no fudge. Take
the tremendous bill of fare into your own hand. _Vide et lege_. As we
are in no particular hurry, travel article by article through the
whole enumeration. This will afford you the most complete notion of
the expense of dining at a fashionable _restaurateur's_ in Paris.

BEAUVILLIERS, RESTAURATEUR

_Anciennement a la grande Tavernede la Republique, Palais-Egalite,
No. 142, Presentement Rue de la LOI, No. 1243._

PRIX DES METS POUR UNE PERSONNE.--LES ARTICLES DONT
LES PRIX NE SONT POINT FIXES, MANQUENT.


  POTAGES.

                                                       fr. s.
  Potage aux laitues et petits pois                     0 15
  Potage aux croutons a la puree                        0 15
  Potage aux choux                                      0 15
  Potage au consomme                                    0 12
  Potage au pain                                        0 12
  Potage de sante                                       0 12
  Potage au vermicel                                    0 12
  Potage au ris                                         0 12
  Potage a la julienne                                  0 12
  Potage printanier                                     0 15
  Potage a la puree                                     0 15
  Potage au lait d'amandes                              0 15
  Potage en tortue                                      1 10

  HORS-D'OEUVRES.

  Tranche de melon                                      1  0
  Artichaud a la poivrade                               0 15
  Raves et Radis                                        0  6
  Salade de concombres                                  1 10
  Thon marine                                           1 10
  Anchois a l'huile                                     1  5
  Olives                                                0 15
  Pied de cochon a la Sainte-Menehould                  0 12
  Cornichons                                            0  8
  Petit sale aux choux                                  1  5
  Saucisses aux choux                                   0 18
  1 Petit Pain de Beurre                                0  4
  2 OEufs frais                                         0 12
  1 Citron                                              0  8
  Rissole a la Choisy                                   1  0
  Croquette de volaille                                 1  4
  3 Rognons a la brochette                              1  0
  Tete de veau en tortue                                2  5
  Tete de veau au naturel                               1  0
  1 Cotelette de porc frais, sauce robert               1  0
  Chou-Croute garni                                     1 10
  Jambon de Mayence aux epinards                        1  5

  ENTREES DE BOEUF.

                                                       fr. s.
  Boeuf au naturel ou a la sauce                        0 15
  Boeuf aux choux ou aux legumes                        0 18
  Carnebif                                              1 10
  Rosbif                                                1  5
  Filet de Boeuf saute dans sa glace                    1  5
  Bifteck                                               1  5
  Entre-cote, sauce aux cornichons                      1  5
  Palais de Boeuf au gratin                             1  4
  Palais de Boeuf a la poulette ou a l'Italienne        1  0
  Langue de Boeuf glacee aux epinards                   1  0
  Jarrets de veau                                       0 15

  ENTREES DE PATISSERIE.

  Pate chaud de legumes                                 1  5
  2 petits Pates a la Bechamel                          1  4
  2 petits Pates au jus                                 0 16
  1 Pate chaud d'anguille                               1 10
  1 Pate chaud de cretes et de rognons de coqs          2  0
  Tourte de godiveau                                    1  0
  Tourte aux confitures                                 1  5
  Vol-au-Vent de filets de volailles                    2  0
  Vol-au-Vent de Saumon frais                           1 10
  Vol-au-Vent de morue a la Bechamel                    1  5
  Vol-au-Vent de cervelle de veau a l'Allemande         1  5

  ENTREES DE VOLAILLES.
  (_Toutes les entrees aux Truffes sont de 15 de plus_).

                                                       fr. s.
  Caille aux petits pois                                2 10
  Pigeon a la crapaudine                                2 10
  Chapon au riz, le quart                               2 15
  Chapon au gros sel, le quart                          2 10
  Demi-poulet aux Truffes ou aux Huitres                4  0
  Fricassee de poulets garnie, la moitie                3 10
  Fricassee de poulets, la moitie                       3  0
  Salade de volaille                                    3  0
  Friteau de poulet, la moitie                          3  0
  Demi-poulet a la ravigotte ou a la tartare            3  0
  Marinade de poulet, la moitie                         3  0
  Le quart d'un poulet a l'estragon ou a la creme ou
     aux laitues                                        1 10
  Blanquette de poularde                                2 10
  1 cuisse de poulet aux petits pois                    2  0
  1 cuisse de volaille au jambon                        2  0
  2 cotelettes de poulet                                3  0
  1 cuisse ou aile de poulet en papillote               1 10
  1 cuisse de poulet a la Provencale                    1 10
  Ragout mele de cretes et de rognons de coqs           3  0
  Capilotade de volaille                                3  0
  Filet de poularde au supreme                          3  0
  Mayonaise de volaille                                 3  0
  Cuisses de Dindon grillees, sauce robert              3  0
  Le quart d'un Canard aux petits pois ou aux navets    1 10
  Foie gras en caisses ou en matelote
  Perdrix aux choux, la moitie
  Salmi de perdreau au vin de Champagne
  Pigeons en compote ou aux petits pois                 2 10
  Bechamel de blanc de volaille                         2 10
  2 cuisses de poulet en hochepot                       1 10
  Ailerons de dinde aux navets                          1 10
  Blanc de volaille aux concombres                      3  0

  ENTREES DE VEAU.

                                                       fr. s.
  Riz de veau pique, a l'oseille ou a la chicoree       2  0
  Riz de veau a la poulette                             2  0
  Fricandeau aux petits pois                            1  5
  Fricandeau a la chicoree                              1  4
  Fricandeau a la ravigotte                             1  4
  Fricandeau a l'oseille                                1  4
  Fricandeau a l'Espagnole                              1  4
  Cotelette de veau au jambon                           1  4
  Cotelette de veau aux petits pois                     1 10
  Cotelette de veau en papillotte                       1  5
  Cotelette de veau panee, sauce piquante               1  0
  Cotelette de veau, sauce tomate                       1  5
  Blanquette de veau                                    1  0
  Oreille de veau a la ravigotte                        1  4
  Oreille de veau farcie, frite                         1  4
  Oreille de veau frite ou en marinade                  1  4
  Cervelle de veau en matelote                          1  4
  Cervelle de veau a la puree                           1  4
  Tendons de veau panes, grilles, sauce piquante        1  4
  Tendons de veau a la poulette                         1  4
  Tendons de veauen macedoine                           1  5
  Tendons de veau aux petits pois                       1  5

  ENTREES DE MOUTON.

  Gigot de mouton braise, aux legumes                   1  0
  Tendons de mouton grilles                             0 18
  Tendons de mouton aux petits pois                     1  5
  Hachi de mouton a la Portugaise                       1  0
  2 Cotelettes de mouton a la minute                    1  5
  2 Cotelettes de mouton aux racines                    1  5
  2 Cotelettes de mouton au naturel                     0 18
  2 Cotelettes de pre                                   1  0
  Epigramme d'agneau
  2 Cotelettes d'agneau au naturel
  Tendons d'agneau aux pointes d'asperges
  Tendons d'agneau aux petits pois
  Blanquette d'agneau
  Filet de chevreuil                                    1  5
  Cotelette de chevreuil
  Queue de mouton a la puree                            1  5
  Queue de mouton a l'oseille ou a la chicoree          1  5

  ENTREES DE POISSONS.

                                                       fr. s.
  Merlan frit
  Maquereau a la maitre d'hotel
  Saumon frais, sauce aux capres                        2 10
  Raie, sauce aux capres ou au beurre noir              1 10
  Turbot, sauce aux capres                              2 10
  Cabillaud
  Morue fraiche au beurre fondu
  Morue d'Hol. a la maitre-d'hotel ou a la Provencale   1 10
  Sole frite
  Sole sur le plat                                      5  0
  Eperlans frits
  Barbue
  Turbotin
  Matelote de carpe et d'anguille                       2  0
  Troncon d'anguille a la tartare                       1 10
  Carpe frite, la moitie                                2  0
  Perche du Rhin a la Vallesfiche
  Goujons frits                                         1  5
  Truite au bleu
  Laitance de carpe
  Moules a la poulette                                  1  5
  Homard                                                3  0
  Esturgeon                                             2 10

  ROTS.

                                                       fr. s.
  Becasse
  3 Mauviettes


  Poularde fine 9fr. la moitie                          4 10
  Poulet Normand, 7fr. la moitie                        3 10
  Poulet gras, 6fr. la moitie                           3  0
  1 Pigeon de voliere                                   2 10
  Perdreau rouge
  Perdreau gris                                         3 10
  Caneton de Rouen
  Caille                                                2  0
  Agneau
  Veau                                                  1  0
  Mouton
  Levreau
  Grive


  Obergine                                              1 10

  ENTREMETS.

  Gelee de citron                                       1 10
  Concombres a la Bechamel                              1 10
  Laitues a jus                                         1 10
  Petits pois a la Francaise ou a l'Anglaise            1 10
  Haricots verts a la poulette ou a l'Anglaise          1 10
  Haricots blancs a la maitre-d'hotel                   0 18
  Feves de marais                                       1 10
  Artichaud a la sauce                                  1 10
  Artichaud a la barigoul                               1 10
  Artichaud frit                                        1  5
  Truffes au vin de Champagne
  Truffes a l'Italienne
  Croute aux truffes
  Navets
  Carottes                                              0 18
  Epinards au jus                                       0 18
  Chicoree au jus                                       1  5
  Celeri au jus
  Choux-fleurs a la sauce ou au parmesan                1 10
  Macedoine de legumes                                  1  5
  Pommes de terre a la maitre-d'hotel                   0 18
  Champignons a la Bordelaise                           1  4
  Croutes aux champignons                               1 10
  OEufs brouilles au jus                                0 15
  OEufs au beurre noir                                  1  0
  Omelette aux fines herbes                             0 15
  Omelette aux rognons ou au jambon                     1  0
  Omelette au sucre ou aux confitures                   1  5
  Omelette soufflee                                     1 10
  Beignets de pommes                                    1 10
  Charlotte de pommes                                   1 10
  Charlotte aux confitures                              2  0
  Riz souffle                                           1 10
  Souffle aux pommes de terre                           1 10
  Le petit pot de creme                                 0 10
  Macaroni d'Italie au parmesan                         1  5
  Fondu                                                 1  4
  Plumpuding                                            1 10
  Eorevisses                                            2  0
  Salade                                                1  0

  DESSERT.

                                                       fr. s.
  Cerneaux                                              0 15
  Raisins                                               1  5


  Fraises
  Cerises
  Groseilles
  Framboises
  Abricot                                               0  8
  Peche                                                 0 12
  Prunes                                                0  3
  Figue                                                 0  5
  Amandes                                               0 15
  Noisettes                                             0 12
  Pommes a la Portugaise
  Poires                                                0  8
  Pomme
  Compote de verjus epepine
  Compote d'epine-vinette
  Compote de poires                                     1  4
  Compote de pommes
  Compote de cerises                                    1  4
  Nix Vert                                              0 10
  Meringue                                              0  8
  Compote de groseilles                                 1  4
  Compote d'abricot                                     1  4
  Compote de peche                                      1  4
  Confitures                                            1  4
  Cerises liquides                                      1  4
  Marmelade d'abricots                                  1 10
  Gelee de groseilles                                   1  4
  Biscuit a la creme                                    1  8
  Fromage a la creme                                    1 10
  Fromage de Roquefort                                  0 10
  Fromage de Viry                                       0 15
  Fromage de Gruyere                                    0  8
  Fromage de Neufehatel                                 0  5
  Fromage de Clochestre ou Chester                      0 10
  Cerises a l'eau-de-vie                                0 12
  Prunes a l'eau-de-vie                                 0 12
  Abricots a l'eau-de-vie
  Peches a l'eau-de-vie

  VINS.

                                                       fr. s.
  Clarette                                              6  0
  Vin de Bourgogne                                      1 15
  Vin de Chablis                                        2  0
  Vin de Beaune                                         2  5
  Vin de Mulsaux                                        3  0
  Vin de Montrachet                                     3 10
  Vin de Pomard                                         3 10
  Vin de Volnay                                         3 10
  Vin de Nuits                                          3 10
  Vin de Grave                                          5  0
  Vin de Soterne                                        5  0
  Vin de Champagne mousseux                             5  0
  Vin de champagne, mousseux                            4  0
  Tisane de Champagne                                   3 10
  Vin de Rose                                           5  0
  Vin de Silery rouge                                   6  0
  Vin de Silery blanc                                   6  0
  Vin de Pierri                                         5  0
  Vin d'Ai                                              5  0
  Vin de Porto                                          6  0
  Latour                                                6  0
  Vin de Cote-Rotie                                     5  0


  Vin du Clos Vougeot de 88                             7  4
  Clos St. Georges                                      6  0
  Vin de Pomarel                                        6  0
  Vin du Rhin                                           8  0
  Vin de Chambertin                                     5  0
  Vin de l'Hermitage rouge                              5  0
  Vin de l'Hermitage blanc                              6  0
  Vin dela Romanee                                      5  0
  Ronflante Conti                                       8  0
  Vin de Richebourg                                     5  0
  Chevalier montrachet                                  6  0
  Vin de Vone                                           5  0
  Vin de Bordeaux de Segur                              5  0
  Vin de Bordeaux Lafite                                5  0
  Vin de Saint Emilion                                  5  0
  Bierre forte ou porter                                2  0
  Bierre                                                0 10


  VINS DE LIQUEURS.

                                                       fr. s.
  Vin de Chereste, demi-bouteille                       4  0
  Vin de Malvoisie, _idem_                              4  0
  Madere sec _id._                                      4  0
  Malaga                                                3  0
  Alicante _id._                                        3  0
  Muscat                                                3  0
  Le petit verre                                        0 10
  Vermouth
  Chipre
  Calabre
  Paille
  Palme
  Constance
  Tokai
  Le petit verre                                        1  0

  LIQUEURS.

  Anisette d'Hollande                                   0 15
  Anisette de Bordeaux                                  0 12
  Eau-de-vie d'Andaye                                   0 10
  Fleur d'Orange                                        0 10
  Cuirasseau                                            0 10
  Rhum                                                  0 10
  Kirschewaser                                          0 10
  Eau Cordiale de Coradon                               0 15
  Liqueurs des Isles                                    0 15
  Marasquin                                             0 15
  Eau-de-vie de Dantzick                                0 15
  Eau-de-vie de Coignac                                 0  8
  Case, la tasse 12s. la demie                          0  8
  Glace                                                 0 15

One advantage, well deserving of notice, of this bill of fare with
the price annexed to each article, is, that, when you have made up
your mind as to what you wish to have for dinner, you have it in your
power, before you give the order, to ascertain the expense. But,
though you see the price of each dish, you see not the dish itself;
and when it comes on the table, you may, perhaps, be astonished to
find that a pompous, big-sounding name sometimes produces only a
scrap of scarcely three mouthfuls. It is the mountain in labour
delivered of a mouse.

However, if you are not a man of extraordinary appetite, you may, for
the sum of nine or ten francs, appease your hunger, drink your bottle
of Champagne or Burgundy, and, besides, assist digestion by a dish of
coffee and a glass of liqueur. Should you like to partake of two
different sorts of wine, you may order them, and drink at pleasure of
both; if you do not reduce the contents below the moiety, you pay
only for the half bottle. A necessary piece of advice to you as a
stranger, is, that, while you are dispatching your first dish, you
should take care to order your second, and so on in progression to
the end of the chapter: otherwise, for want of this precaution, when
the company is very numerous, you may, probably, have to wait some
little time between the acts, before you are served.

This is no trifling consideration, if you purpose, after dinner, to
visit one of the principal theatres: for, if a new or favourite piece
be announced, the house is full, long before the raising of the
curtain; and you not only find no room at the theatre to which you
first repair; but, in all probability, this disappointment will
follow you to every other for that evening.

Nevertheless, ten or fifteen minutes are sufficient for the most
dainty or troublesome dish to undergo its final preparation, and in
that time you will have it smoking on the table. Those which admit of
being completely prepared beforehand, are in a constant state of
readiness, and require only to be set over the fire to be warmed.
Each cook has a distinct branch to attend to in the kitchen, and the
call of a particular waiter to answer, as each waiter has a distinct
number of tables, and the orders of particular guests to obey in the
dining-rooms. In spite of the confused noise arising from the gabble
of so many tongues, there being probably eighty or a hundred persons
calling for different articles, many of whom are hasty and impatient,
such is the habitual good order observed, that seldom does any
mistake occur; the louder the vociferations of the hungry guests, the
greater the diligence of the alert waiters. Should any article, when
served, happen not to suit your taste, it is taken back and changed
without the slightest murmur.

The difference between the establishments of the fashionable
_restaurateurs_ before the revolution, and those in vogue at the
present day, is, that their profession presenting many candidates for
public favour, they are under the continual necessity of employing
every resource of art to attract customers, and secure a continuance
of them. The commodiousness and elegance of their rooms, the
savouriness of their cooking, the quality of their wines, the
promptitude of their attendants, all are minutely criticized; and, if
they study their own interest, they must neglect nothing to flatter
the eyes and palate. In fact, how do they know that some of their
epicurean guests may not have been of their own fraternity, and once
figured in a great French family as _chef de cuisine_?

Of course, with all this increase of luxury, you must expect an
increase of expense: but if you do not now dine here at so reasonable
a rate as formerly, at least you are sumptuously served for your
money. If you wish to dine frugally, there are numbers of
_restaurateurs_, where you may be decently served with _potage_,
_bouilli_, an _entree_, an _entremet_, bread and desert, for the
moderate sum of from twenty-six to thirty _sous_. The addresses of
these cheap eating-houses, if they are not put into your hand in the
street, will present themselves to your eye, at the corner of almost
every wall in Paris. Indeed, all things considered, I am of opinion
that the difference in the expense of a dinner at a _restaurateur's_
at present, and what it was ten or eleven years ago, is not more than
in the due proportion of the increased price of provisions,
house-rent, and taxes.

The difference the most worthy of remark in these rendezvous of good
cheer, unquestionably consists in the company who frequent them. In
former times, the dining-rooms of the fashionable _restaurateurs_
were chiefly resorted to by young men of good character and
connexions, just entering into life, superannuated officers and
batchelors in easy circumstances, foreigners on their travels, &c. At
this day, these are, in a great measure, succeeded by stock-jobbers,
contractors, fortunate speculators, and professed gamblers. In
defiance of the old proverb, "_le ventre est le plus grand de tous
nos ennemis,_" guttling and guzzling is the rage of these upstarts.
It is by no means uncommon to see many of them begin their dinner by
swallowing six or seven dozen of oysters and a bottle of white wine,
by way of laying a foundation for a _potage en tortue_ and eight or
ten other rich dishes. Such are the modern parvenus, whose craving
appetites, in eating and drinking, as in every thing else, are not
easily satiated.

It would be almost superfluous to mention, that where rich rogues
abound, luxurious courtesans are at no great distance, were it not
for the sake of remarking that the former often regale the latter at
the _restaurateurs_, especially at those houses which afford the
convenience of snug, little rooms, called _cabinets particuliers_.
Here, two persons, who have any secret affairs to settle, enjoy all
possible privacy; for even the waiter never has the imprudence to
enter without being called. In these asylums, Love arranges under his
laws many individuals not suspected of sacrificing at the shrine of
that wonder-working deity. Prudes, whose virtue is the universal
boast, and whose austerity drives thousands of beaux to despair,
sometimes make themselves amends for the reserve which they are
obliged to affect in public, by indulging in a private _tete-a-tete_
in these mysterious recesses. In them too, young lovers frequently
interchange the first declarations of eternal affection; to them many
a husband owes the happiness of paternity; and without them the gay
wife might, perhaps, be at a loss to deceive her jealous Argus, and
find an opportunity of lending an attentive ear to the rapturous
addresses of her aspiring gallant.

What establishment then can be more convenient than that of a
_restaurateur_? But you would be mistaken, were you to look for
_cabinets particuliers_ at every house of this denomination, Here, at
BEAUVILLIERS', for instance, you will find no such accommodation,
though if you dislike dining in public, you may have a private room
proportioned to the number of a respectable party: or, should you be
sitting at home, and just before the hour of dinner, two or three
friends call in unexpectedly, if you wish to enjoy their company in a
quiet, sociable manner, you have only to dispatch your _valet de
place_ to BEAUVILLIERS' or to the nearest _restaurateur_ of repute
for the bill of fare, and at the same time desire him to bring
table-linen, knives, silver forks, spoons, and all other necessary
appurtenances. While he is laying the cloth, you fix on your dinner,
and, in little more than a quarter of an hour, you have one or two
elegant courses, dressed in a capital style, set out on the table. As
for wine, if you find it cheaper, you can procure that article from
some respectable wine-merchant in the neighbourhood. In order to save
trouble, many single persons, and even small families now scarcely
ever cook at home; but either dine at a _restaurateur's_, or have
their dinners constantly furnished from one of these sources of
culinary perfection.

But, while I am relating to you the advantages of these
establishments, time flies apace: 'tis six o'clock.--If you are not
disposed to drink more wine, let us have some coffee and our bill.
When you want to pay, you say: "_Garcon, la carte payante!_" The
waiter instantly flies to a person, appointed for that purpose, to
whom he dictates your reckoning. On consulting your stomach, should
you doubt what you have consumed, you have only to call in the aid of
your memory, and you will be perfectly satisfied that you have not
been charged with a single article too much or too little.

Remark that portly man, so respectful in his demeanour. It is
BEAUVILLIERS, the master of the house: this is his most busy hour,
and he will now make a tour to inquire at the different tables, if
his guests are all served according to their wishes. He will then,
like an able general, take a central station, whence he can command a
view of all his dispositions. The person, apparently next in
consequence to himself, and who seems to have his mind absorbed in
other objects, is the butler: his thoughts are, with the wine under
his care, in the cellar.

Observe the cleanly attention of the waiters, neatly habited in
close-bodied vests, with white aprons before them: watch the
quickness of their motions, and you will be convinced that no scouts
of a camp could be more _on the alert_. An establishment, so
extremely well conducted, excites admiration. Every spring of the
machine duly performs its office; and the regularity of the whole
might serve as a model for the administration of an extensive State.
Repair then, ye modern Machiavels, to N deg. 1243, _Rue de la Loi_; and,
while you are gratifying your palate, imbibe instruction from
BEAUVILLIERS.

END OF THE FIRST VOLUME.




       *       *       *       *       *
       *       *       *       *       *





PARIS

AS IT WAS AND AS IT IS;

OR

A Sketch of the French Capital,

ILLUSTRATIVE OF

THE EFFECTS OF THE REVOLUTION,

WITH RESPECT TO

SCIENCES,
LITERATURE,
ARTS,
RELIGION,
EDUCATION,
MANNERS,
AND
AMUSEMENTS;

COMPRISING ALSO

A correct Account of the most remarkable National Establishments and
Public Buildings.

In a Series of Letters,

WRITTEN BY AN ENGLISH TRAVELLER,

DURING THE YEARS 1801-2,

TO A FRIEND IN LONDON.

       *       *       *       *       *

Ipsa varietate tentamus efficere, ut alia aliis, quaedem fortasse
omnibus placeant. PLIN. Epist.

       *       *       *       *       *

VOL. II

LONDON



A SKETCH OF PARIS, &c. &c.


LETTER XXXVIII.

_Paris, December 23, 1801._

An establishment at once deserving of the attention of men of
feeling, particularly of those who, in cultivating literature, apply
themselves to the science of metaphysics and grammar; an
establishment extremely interesting to every one, the great
difficulties of which mankind had, repeatedly, in the course of ages,
endeavoured to encounter, and which had driven to despair all those
who had ventured to engage in the undertaking; an establishment, in a
word, which produces the happiest effects, and in a most wonderful
manner, is the

NATIONAL INSTITUTION OF THE DEAF AND DUMB.

To the most religious of philanthropists is France indebted for this
sublime discovery, and the Abbe SICARD, a pupil of the inventor; the
Abbe de l'Epee, has carried it to such a degree of perfection, that
it scarcely appears possible to make any further progress in so
useful an undertaking. And, in fact, what can be wanting to a species
of instruction the object of which is to establish between the deaf
and dumb, and the man who hears and speaks, a communication like that
established between all men by the knowledge and practice of the same
idiom; when the deaf and dumb man, by the help of the education given
him, succeeds in decomposing into phrases the longest period; into
simple propositions, the most complex phrase; into words, each
proposition; into simple words, words the most complex: and when he
distinguishes perfectly words derived from primitives; figurative
words from proper ones; and when, after having thus decomposed the
longest discourse, he recomposes it; when, in short, the deaf and
dumb man expresses all his ideas, all his thoughts, and all his
affections; when he answers, like men the best-informed, all
questions put to him, respecting what he knows through the nature of
his intelligence, and respecting what he has learned, either from
himself or from him who has enlightened his understanding? What wish
remains to be formed, when the deaf and dumb man is enabled to learn
by himself a foreign language, when he translates it, and writes it,
as well as those of whom it is the mother-tongue?

Such is the phenomenon which the Institution of the deaf and dumb
presents to the astonishment of Europe, under the direction, or
rather under the regeneration of the successor of the celebrated Abbe
de l'Epee. His pupils realize every thing that I have just mentioned.
They write English and Italian as well as they do French. Nothing
equals the justness and precision of their definitions.

Nor let it be imagined that they resemble birds repeating the tunes
they have learned. Never have they been taught the answer to a
question. Their answers are always the effect of their good logic,
and of the ideas of objects and of qualities of beings, acquired by a
mind which the Institutor has formed from the great art of
observation.

This institution was far short of its present state of perfection at
the death of the celebrated inventor, which happened on the 23d of
December 1789. During the long career of their first father, the deaf
and dumb had been able to find means only to write, under the
dictation of signs, words whose import was scarcely known to them.
When endeavours were made to make them emerge from the confined
sphere of the first wants, not one of them knew how to express in
writing any thing but ideas of sense and wants of the first
necessity. The nature of the verb, the relations of tenses, that of
other words comprehended in the phrase, and which form the syntax of
languages, were utterly unknown to them. And, indeed, how could they
answer the most trifling question? Every thing in the construction of
a period was to them an enigma.

It was not long before the successor of the inventor discovered the
defect of this instruction, which was purely mechanical and acquired
by rote. He thought he perceived this defect in the _concrete_ verb,
in which the deaf and dumb, seeing only a single word, were unable to
distinguish two ideas which are comprehended in it, that of
affirmation and that of quality. He thought he perceived also that
defect in the expression of the qualities, always presented, in all
languages, out of the subjects, and never in the noun which they
modify; and, by the help of a process no less simple than ingenious
and profound, he has made the deaf and dumb comprehend the most
arduous difficulty, the nature of abstraction; he has initiated them
in the art of generalizing ideas by presenting to them the adjective
in the noun, as the quality is in the object, and the quality
subsisting alone and out of the object, having no support but in the
mind, for him who considers it, and but in the abstract noun for him
who reads the expression of it. He has, in like manner, separated the
verb from the quality in concrete verbs, and communicated to the deaf
and dumb the knowledge of the true verb, which he has pointed out to
them in the termination of all the French verbs, by reattaching to
the subject, by a line agreed on, its verbal quality. This line he
has translated by the verb _to be_, the only verb recognized by
philosophic grammarians.

These are the two foundations of this very extraordinary source of
instruction, and on which all the rest depend. The pronouns are
learned by nouns; the tenses of conjugation, by the three absolute
tenses of conjugation of all languages; and these, by this line, so
happily imagined, which is a sign of the present when it connects the
verbal quality and the subject, a sign of the past when it is
intersected, a sign of the future when it is only begun.

All the conjugations are reduced to a single one, as are all the
verbs. The adverbs considered as adjectives, when they express the
manner, and as substitutes for a preposition and its government, when
they express time or place, &c. The preposition represented as a mean
of transmitting the influence of the word which precedes it to that
which follows it; the articles serving, as in the English language,
to determine the extent of a common noun. Such is a summary of the
grammatical system of the Institutor of the deaf and dumb.

It is the metaphysical part, above all, which, in this institution,
is carried to such a degree of simplicity and clearness, that it is
within reach of understandings the most limited. And, indeed, one
ought not to be astonished at the rapid progress of the deaf and dumb
in the art of expressing their ideas and of communicating in writing
with every speaker, as persons absent communicate with each other by
similar means. In the space of eighteen months, a pupil begins to
give an account in writing of the actions of which he is rendered a
witness, and, in the space of five years, his education is complete.

The objects in which the deaf and dumb are instructed, are Grammar,
the notions of Metaphysics and Logic, which the former renders
necessary, Religion, the Use of the Globes, Geography, Arithmetic,
general notions of History, ancient and modern, of Natural History,
of Arts and Trades, &c.

These unfortunates, restored by communication to society, from which
Nature seemed to have intended to exclude them, are usefully
employed. One of their principal occupations is a knowledge of a
mechanical art. Masters in the most ordinary arts are established in
the house of the deaf and dumb, and every one there finds employment
in the art which best suits his inclination, his strength, and his
natural disposition. In this school, which is established at the
extremity of the _Faubourg St. Jacques_, is a printing-office, where
some are employed as compositors; others, as pressmen. In a
preparatory drawing-school they are taught the rudiments of painting,
engraving, and Mosaic, for the last of which there are two workshops.
There is also a person to teach engraving on fine grained stones, as
well as a joiner, a tailor, and a shoemaker. The garden, which is
large, is cultivated by the deaf and dumb. Almost every thing that is
used by them is made by themselves. They make their own bedsteads,
chairs, tables, benches, and clothes. The deaf and dumb females too
make their shirts, and the rest of their linen.

Thus their time is so taken up that, with the exception of three
hours devoted to moral instruction, all the rest is employed in
manual labour.

Such is this establishment, where the heart is agreeably affected at
the admirable spectacle which presents at once every thing that does
the most honour to human intelligence, in the efforts which it has
been necessary to make in order to overcome the obstacles opposed to
its development by the privation of the sense the most useful, and
that of the faculty the most essential to the communication of men
with one another, and the sight of the physical power employed in
seeking, in arts and trades, resources which render men independent.

But to what degree are these unfortunates deaf, and why are they
dumb?

It is well known that they are dumb because they are deaf, and they
are more or less deaf, when they are so only by accident, in
proportion as the auditory nerve is more or less braced, or more or
less relaxed. In various experiments made on sound, some have heard
sharp sounds, and not grave ones; others, on the contrary, have heard
grave sounds, and not sharp ones.

All would learn, were it deemed expedient to teach them, the
mechanism of speech. But, besides that the sounds which they would
utter, would never be heard by themselves, and they would never be
conscious of having uttered them, those, sounds would be to those who
might listen to them infinitely disagreeable. Never could they be of
use, to them in conversing with us, and they would serve only to
counteract their instruction.

Woe be to the deaf and dumb whom it should be proposed to instruct by
teaching them to speak! How, in fact, can, the development of the
understanding be assisted by teaching them a mechanism which has no
object or destination, when the thought already formed in the mind,
by the help of signs which fix the ideas, restores not the mechanism
of speech?

Of this the Institutor has been fully sensible, and, although in his
public lessons, he explains all the efforts of the vocal instrument
or organ of the voice, and proves that he could, as well as any other
man, teach the deaf and dumb to make use of it, all his labour is
confined to exercising the instrument of thought, persuaded that
every thing will be obtained, when the deaf and dumb shall have
learned to arrange their ideas, and to think.

It is then only that the Institutor gives lessons of analysis. But,
how brilliant are they! You think yourself transported into a class
of logic. The deaf and dumb man has ceased to be so. A contest begins
between him and his master. All the spectators are astonished; every
one wishes to retain what is written on both sides. It is a lesson
given to all present.

Every one is invited to interrogate the deaf and dumb man, and he
answers to any person whatsoever, with a pen or pencil in his hand,
and in the same manner puts a question. He is asked, "What is Time?"
--"Time," says the dumb pupil, "is a portion of duration, the nature
of which is to be successive, to have commenced, and consequently to
have passed, and to be no more; to be present, and to be so through
necessity. Time," adds he, "is the fleeting or the future." As if in
the eyes of the dumb there was nothing real in Time but the future.
--"What is eternity?" says another to him--"It is a day without
yesterday, or to-morrow," replies the pupil.--"What is a sense?"--"It
is a vehicle for ideas."--"What is duration?"--"It is a line which
has no end, or a circle."--"What is happiness?"--"It is a pleasure
which never ceases."--"What is God?"--"The author of nature, the sun
of eternity."--"What is friendship?"--"The affection of the mind."
--"What is gratitude?"--"The memory of the heart."

There are a thousand answers of this description, daily collected at
the lessons of the deaf and dumb by those who attend them, and which
attest the superiority of this kind of instruction over the common
methods. Thus, this institution is not only, in regard to beneficence
and humanity, deserving of the admiration of men of feeling, it
merits also the observation of men of superior understanding and true
philosophers, on account of the ingenious process employed here to
supply the place of the sense of seeing by that of hearing, and
speech by gesture and writing.

I must not conceal from my countrymen, above all, that the
Institutor, in his public lessons, formally declares, that it is by
giving to the French language the simple form of ours, and
accommodating to it our syntax, he has been chiefly successful in
making the deaf and dumb understand that of their own country. I must
also add, that it is no more than a justice due to the Institutor to
say that, in the midst of the concourse of auditors, who press round
him, and who offer him the homage due to his genius and philanthropy,
he shews for all the English an honourable preference, acknowledging
to them, publicly, that this attention is a debt which he discharges
in return for the asylum that we granted to the unfortunate persons
of his profession, who, emigrating from their native land, came among
us to seek consolation, and found another home.

Should ever this feeble sketch of so interesting an institution reach
SICARD, that religious philosopher, who belongs as much to every
country in the world as to France, the land which gave him birth, he
will find in it nothing more than the expression of the gratitude of
one Englishman; but he may promise himself that as soon as the
definitive treaty of peace shall have reopened a free intercourse
between the two nations, the sentiments contained in it will be
adopted by all the English who shall witness the extraordinary
success of his profoundly-meditated labours. They will all hasten to
pay their tribute of admiration to a man, whose most gratifying
reward consists in the benefits which he has had the happiness to
confer on that part of his fellow-creatures from whom Nature has
withheld her usual indulgence.



LETTER XXXIX.

_Paris, December 25, 1801._

Much has been said of the general tone of immorality now prevailing
in this capital, and so much, that it becomes necessary to look
beyond the surface, and examine whether morals be really more corrupt
here at the present day than before the revolution. To investigate
the subject through all its various branches and ramifications, would
lead me far beyond the limits of a letter. I shall therefore, as a
criterion, take a comparative view of the increase or decrease of the
different classes of women, who, either publicly or privately,
deviate from the paths of virtue. If we begin with the lowest rank,
and ascend, step by step, to the highest, we first meet with those
unfortunate creatures, known in France by the general designation of

PUBLIC WOMEN.

Their number in Paris, twelve years ago, was estimated at thirty
thousand; and if this should appear comparatively small, it must be
considered how many amorous connexions here occupy the attention of
thousands of men, and consequently tend to diminish the number of
_public_ women.

The question is not to ascertain whether it be necessary, for the
tranquillity of private families, that there should be public women.
Who can fairly estimate the extent of the mischief which they
produce, or of that which they obviate? Who can accurately determine
the best means for bringing the good to overbalance the evil? But,
supposing the necessity of the measure, would it not be proper to
prevent, as much as possible, that complete mixture by which virtuous
females are often confounded with impures?

Charlemagne, though himself a great admirer of the sex, was of that
opinion. He had, in vain, endeavoured to banish entirely from Paris
women of this description; by ordering that they should be condemned
to be publicly whipped, and that those who harboured them, should
carry them on their shoulders to the place where the sentence was put
in execution. But it was not a little singular that, while the
emperor was bent on reforming the morals of the frail fair, his two
daughters, the princesses Gifla and Rotrude, were indulging in all
the vicious foibles of their nature.

Charlemagne, who then resided in the _Palais des Thermes_, situated
in the _Rue de la Harpe_, happened to rise one winter's morning much
earlier than usual. After walking for some time about his room, he
went to a window which looked into a little court belonging to the
palace. How great was his astonishment, when, by the twilight, he
perceived his second daughter, Rotrude, with Eginhard, his prime
minister, on her back, whom she was carrying through the deep snow
which had fallen in the night in order that the foot-steps of a man
might not be traced.

When Lewis the _debonnaire_, his successor, ascended the throne, he
undertook to reform these two princesses, whose father's fondness had
prevented him from suffering them to marry. The new king began by
putting to death two noblemen who passed for their lovers, thinking
that this example would intimidate, and that they would find no more:
but it appears that he was mistaken, for they were never at a loss.
Nor is this to be wondered at, as these princesses to a taste for
literature joined a very lively imagination, and were extremely
affable, generous, and beneficent; on which account, says Father
Daniel, they died universally regretted.

Experience having soon proved that public women are a necessary evil
in great cities, it was resolved to tolerate them. They therefore
began to form a separate body, became subject to taxes, and had their
statutes and judges. They were called _femmes amoureuses_, _filles
folles de leur corps_, and, on St. Magdalen's day, they were
accustomed to form annually a solemn procession. Particular streets
were assigned to them for their abode; and a house in each street,
for their commerce.

A penitentiary asylum, called _les Filles Dieu_, was founded at Paris
in 1226, and continued for some years open for the reception of
_female sinners who had gone astray, and were reduced to beggary_. In
the time of St. Lewis, their number amounted to two hundred; but
becoming rich, they became dissolute, and in 1483, they were
succeeded by the reformed nuns of Fontevrault.

When I was here in the year 1784, a great concourse of people daily
visited this convent in order to view the body of an ancient virgin
and martyr, said to be that of St. Victoria, which, having been
lately dug up near Rome, had just been sent to these nuns by the
Pope. This relic being exposed for some time to the veneration and
curiosity of the Parisian public, the devout wondered to see the fair
saint with a complexion quite fresh and rosy, after having been dead
for several centuries, and, in their opinion, this was a miracle
which incontestably proved her sanctity. The incredulous, who did not
see things in the same light, thought that the face was artificial,
and that it presented one of those holy frauds which have so
frequently furnished weapons to impiety. But they were partly
mistaken: the nuns had thought proper to cover the face of the saint
with a mask, and to clothe her from head to foot, in order to skreen
from the eyes of the public the hideous spectacle of a skeleton.

In 1420, Lewis VIII, with a view of distinguishing impures from
modest women, forbade the former to wear golden girdles, then in
fashion. This prohibition was vain, and the virtuous part of the sex
consoled themselves by the testimony of their conscience, whence the
old proverb: "_Bonne renommee vaut mieux que ceinture doree_."

Another establishment, first called _Les Filles penitentes ou
repenties_, and afterwards _Filles de St. Magloire_, was instituted
in 1497 by a Cordelier, and had the same destination. He preached
against libertinism, and with such success, that two hundred
dissolute women were converted by his fervent eloquence. The friar
admitted them into his congregation, which was sanctioned by the
Pope. Its statutes, which were drawn up by the Bishop of Paris, are
not a little curious. Among other things, it was established, that
"none should be received but women who had led a dissolute life, and
that, in order to ascertain the fact, they should be examined by
matrons, who should swear on the Holy Evangelists to make a faithful
report."

There can be no doubt that women were well taken care of in this
house, since it was supposed that virtue even might assume the mask
of vice to obtain admission. The fact is singular. "To prevent girls
from prostituting themselves in order to be received, those who shall
have been once examined and refused, shall be excluded for ever.

"Besides, the candidates shall be obliged to swear, under penalty of
their eternal damnation, in presence of their confessor and six nuns,
that they did not prostitute themselves with a view of entering into
this congregation; and in order that women of bad character may not
wait too long before they become converted, in the hope that the door
will always be open to them, none will be received above the age of
thirty."

This community, for some years, continued tolerably numerous; but its
destination had been changed long before the suppression of convents,
which took place in the early part of the revolution. All the places
of public prostitution in Paris, after having been tolerated upwards
of four hundred years, were abolished by a decree of the States
General, held at Orleans in 1560. The number of women of the town,
however, was far from being diminished, though their profession was
no longer considered as a trade; and as they were prohibited from
being any where, that is, in any fixed place, they were compelled to
spread themselves every where.

At the present day, the number of these women in Paris is computed at
twenty-five thousand: they are taken up as formerly, in order to be
sent into infirmaries, whence they, generally, come out only to
return to their former habits. Twelve years ago, those apprehended
underwent a public examination once a month, and were commonly
sentenced to a confinement, more or less long, according to the
pleasure of the minister of the police. The examination of them
became a matter of amusement for persons of not over-delicate
feelings. The hardened females, neither respecting the judge not the
audience, impudently repeated the language and gestures of their
traffic. The judge added a fortnight's imprisonment for every insult,
and the most abandoned were confined only a few months longer in the
_Salpetriere_.

Endeavours have since been made to improve the internal regulation of
this and similar houses of correction; but, as far as my information
goes, with little success. For want of separating, from the beginning
of their confinement, the most debauched from those whom a moment of
distress or error has thrown into these scenes of depravity, the
contamination of bad example rapidly spreads, and those who enter
dissolute, frequently come out thievish; while all timidity is
banished from the mind of the more diffident. Besides, it is not
always the most culpable who fall into the hands of the police, the
more cunning and experienced, by contriving to come to terms with its
agents, employed on these errands, generally escape; and thus the
object in view is entirely defeated.

On their arrival at the _Salpetriere_, the healthy are separated from
the diseased; and the latter are sent to _Bicetre_, where they either
find a cure or death. Your imagination will supply the finishing
strokes of this frightful picture.--These unfortunate victims of
indigence or of the seduction of man, are deserving of compassion.
With all their vices, they have, after all, one less than many of
their sex who pride themselves on chastity, without really possessing
it; that is, hypocrisy. As they shew themselves to be what they
really are, they cannot make the secret mischief which a detected
prude not unfrequently occasions under the deceitful mask of modesty.
Degraded in their own eyes, and being no longer able to reign through
the graces of virtue, they fall into the opposite extreme, and
display all the audaciousness of vice.

The next class we come to is that which was almost honoured by the
Greeks, and tolerated by the Romans, under the denomination of

COURTESANS.

By courtesans, I mean those ladies who, decked out in all the luxury
of dress, if not covered with diamonds, put up their favours to the
highest bidder, without having either more beauty or accomplishments,
perhaps, than the distressed female who sells hers at the lowest
price. But caprice, good fortune, intrigue, or artifice, sometimes
occasions an enormous distance between women who have the same views.

If the ancients made great sacrifices for the Phrynes, the Laises, or
the Aspasias of the day, among the moderns, no nation has, in that
respect, surpassed the French. Every one has heard of the luxurious
extravagance of Mademoiselle Deschamps, the cushion of whose
_chaise-percee_, was trimmed with point-lace of very considerable
value, and the harness of whose carriage was studded with paste, in
imitation of diamonds. This woman, however, lived to repent of her
folly; and if she did not literally die in a poorhouse, she at least
ended her days in wretchedness.

Before the revolution, of all the gay ladies in Paris, Madame
Grandval displayed the greatest luxury in her equipage; and
Mademoiselle D'Hervieux, in her house. I knew them both. The former I
have seen at Longchamp, as well as at the annual review of the king's
household troops, in a splendid coach, as fine as that of any Lord
Mayor, drawn by a set of eight English grays, which cost a hundred
and twenty guineas a horse. She sat, like a queen, adorned with a
profusion of jewels; and facing her was a _dame de compagnie_,
representing a lady of the bedchamber. Behind the carriage, stood no
less than three tall footmen, besides a chasseur, in the style of
that of the Duke of Gloucester, in rich liveries, with swords, canes,
and bags.

As for the house of Mademoiselle D'Hervieux, it was every thing that
oriental luxury, combined with French taste, could unite on a small
scale. Although of very low origin, and by no means gifted with a
handsome person, this lady, after having, rather late in life,
obtained an introduction on the opera-stage as a common _figurante_,
contrived to insinuate herself into the good graces of some rich
protectors. On the _Chaussee d'Antin_, they built for her this palace
in miniature, which, twelve years ago, was the object of universal
admiration, and, in fact, was visited by strangers as one of the
curiosities of Paris.

At the present day, one neither sees nor hears of such favourites of
fortune; and, for want of subjects to paint under this head, I must
proceed to those of the next rank, who are styled

KEPT WOMEN.

What distinctions, what shades, what different names to express
almost one and the same thing! From the haughty fair in a brilliant
equipage, figuring, like a favourite Sultana, with "all the pride,
pomp, and circumstance" of the toilet, down to the hunger-pinched
female, who stands shivering in the evening at the corner of a
street, what gradations in the same profession!

Before the revolution, there were reckoned in Paris eight or ten
thousand women to whom the rich nobility or financiers allowed from a
thousand pounds a year upwards to an almost incredible amount. Some
of these ladies have ruined a whole family in the short space of six
months; and, having nothing left at the year's end, were then under
the necessity of parting with their diamonds for a subsistence.
Although many of them are far inferior in opulence to the courtesans,
they are less depraved, and, consequently, superior to them in
estimation. They have a lover, who pays, and from whom they, in
general, get all they can, at the same time turning him into
ridicule, and another whom, in their turn, they pay, and for whom
they commit a thousand follies.

These women used to have no medium in their attachments; they were
either quite insensible to the soft passion, or loved almost to
distraction. On the wane, they had the rage for marrying, and many of
them found men who, preferring fortune to honour, disgraced
themselves by such alliances. Some of these ladies, if handsome, were
not unfrequently taken by a man of fortune, and kept from mere
ostentation, just as he would sport a superlatively elegant carriage,
or ride a very capital horse; others were maintained from caprice,
which, like Achilles's spear, carried with it its own antidote; and
then, of course, they passed into the hands of different keepers. It
cannot be denied, however that a few of these connexions were founded
on attachment; and when the woman, who was the object of it, was
possessed of understanding, she assumed the manners and deportment of
a wife. Indeed, now and then a keeper adopted the style of oriental
gallantry.

Beaujon, the banker of the court, who had amassed an immense fortune,
indulged himself in his old age, and, till his death, in a society
composed of pretty women, some of whom belonged to what was then
termed good families, among which he had diffused his presents. In an
elegant habitation, called _la Chartreuse_, which he erected in the
_Faubourg du Roule_, as a place of occasional retirement, was a most
curious apartment, representing a bower, in the midst of which was
placed a bedstead in imitation of a basket of flowers: four trees,
whose verdant foliage extended over part of the ceiling, which was
painted as a sky, seemed to shade this basket, and supported drapery,
suspended to their branches. This was M. Beaujon's Temple of Venus.

The late Prince of Soubise, for some years, constantly kept ten or a
dozen ladies. The only intercourse he had with them, was to breakfast
or chat with them twice or thrice a month, and latterly he maintained
several old stagers, in this manner, from motives of benevolence. At
the end of the month, all these ladies came in their carriages at a
fixed hour, in a string, as it were, one after the other. The steward
had their money ready; they afterwards, one by one, entered a very
spacious room furnished with large closets, filled with silks,
muslins, laces, ribbands, &c. The prince distributed presents to
each, according to her age and taste: thus ended a visit of mere
ceremony, interspersed with a few words of general gallantry.

Such was the style in which many women were kept by men of fortune
under the old _regime_. At the present day, if we except twenty or
thirty perhaps, it would be no easy matter to discover any women
supported in a style of elegance in Paris, and the lot of these seems
scarcely secured but from month to month. The reason of this mystery
is, that the modern Croesuses having mostly acquired their riches in
a clandestine manner, they take every possible precaution to prevent
the reports in circulation concerning their ill-gotten pelf from
being confirmed by a display of luxury in their _cheres amies_. On
this account, many a matrimonial connexion, I am told, is formed
between them and women of equivocal character, on the principle, that
a man is better able to check the extravagant excesses of his wife
than those of his mistress.

We now arrive at that class of females who move in a sphere of life
the best calculated for making conquests. I mean

OPERA-DANCERS.

When a spectator, whose eyes are fascinated by the illusion of scenic
decorations, contemplates those beauties whose voluptuous postures,
under the form of Calypso, Eucharis, Delphis, &c. awaken desire in
the mind of youth, and even of persons of maturer years, he forgets
that the divinities before him are women, who not unfrequently lavish
their favours on the common herd of mortals. His imagination lends to
them a thousand secret charms which they possess not; and he cannot
be persuaded that they are not tremblingly alive to a passion which
they express with so much apparent feeling. It is in their arms only
that he discovers his error. To arrive at this point, many an
Englishman has sacrificed thousands of pounds; while his faithless
fair has been indulging in all the wantonness of her disposition,
perhaps, with some obscure Frenchman among the long train of her
humble admirers. Hence the significant appellation of _Milord
Pot-au-feu_, given to one who supports a woman whose favours
another enjoys _gratis_.

Such an opera-dancer used formerly to exhibit herself in a blaze of
jewels in the lobby, and according to the style in which she figured,
did she obtain respect from her companions. The interval between them
was proportioned to the degree of opulence which the one enjoyed over
the other, so that the richer scarcely appeared to belong to the same
profession as the poorer. To the former, every shopkeeper became a
candidate for custom; presents were heaped on presents, and gold was
showered on her in such a manner that she might, for the time, almost
have fancied herself a second Danae.

In the midst of this good fortune, perhaps, an obscure rival suddenly
started into fashion. She then was eclipsed by her whom, a few days
before, she disdained. Instead of a succession of visiters, her house
was deserted; and, at the expiration of the year, the proud fair,
awakened from her golden dream by the clamours of her importunate
creditors, found herself without one friend to rescue her valuables
from their rapacious gripe.

No wonder, then, that this order of things, (excepting the reverse by
which it was sometimes followed) was very agreeable to the great
majority of these capering beauties, and, doubtless, they wished its
duration. For, among the reports of the _secret_ police, maintained
by Lewis XVI, in 1792, it appears by a letter addressed to M. de
Caylus, and found among the King's papers in the palace of the
_Tuileries_, that most of the female opera-dancers were staunch
_aristocrates_; but that democracy triumphed among the women who sang
at that theatre. This little anecdote shews how far curiosity was
then stretched to ascertain what is called public opinion; and I have
no doubt that the result confirmed the correctness of the statement.

The opera-stage was certainly never so rich as it now is in
first-rate female dancers, yet the frail part of these beauties were
never so deficient, perhaps, in wealthy admirers. Proceeding to the
next order of meretricious fair, we meet with that numerous one
denominated

GRISETTES.

This is the name applied to those young girls who, being obliged to
subsist by their labour, chiefly fill the shops of milliners,
mantua-makers, and sellers of ready-made linen, &c.

The rank which ought to be assigned to them, I think, is between
opera-dancers and demireps. You may smile at the distinction; but, as
Mr. Tickle justly observes, in the Spectator, we should vary our
appellations of these fair criminals, according to circumstances.
"Those who offend only against themselves," says he, "and are not a
scandal to society; but, out of deference to the sober part of the
world, have so much good left in them as to be ashamed, must not be
comprehended in the common word due to the worst of women. Regard is
to be had to their situation when they fell, to the uneasy perplexity
in which they lived under senseless and severe parents, to the
importunity of poverty, to the violence of a passion in its beginning
well-grounded, to all the alleviations which make unhappy women
resign the characteristic of their sex, modesty. To do otherwise than
thus," adds he, "would be to act like a pedantic Stoic, who thinks
all crimes alike, and not as an impartial spectator, who views them
with all the circumstances that diminish or enhance the guilt."

If we measure them by this standard, _grisettes_ appear entitled to
be classed immediately below demireps; for, as Lear says of his
daughter,

  "-------- Not to be the worst
  Stands in some rank of praise."

Their principal merit consists in their conducting themselves with a
certain degree of decorum and reserve, and in being susceptible of
attachment. Born in an humble sphere, they are accustomed from their
infancy to gain their livelihood by their industry. Like young birds
that feel the power of using their wings, they fly from the
parent-nest at the age of sixteen; and, hiring a room for themselves,
they live according to their means and fancy.

More fortunate in their indigence than the daughters of petty
tradesmen, they overleap the limits of restraint, while their charms
are in full lustre; and sometimes their happiness arises from being
born in poverty. In marrying an artisan of their own class, they see
nothing but distress and servitude, which are by no means compatible
with their spirit of independence. Vanity becomes their guide, and is
as bad a guide as distress; for it prompts them to add the resources
of their youth and person to those of their needle. This double
temptation is too strong for their weak virtue. They therefore seek a
friend to console them on Sundays for the _ennui_ of the remainder of
the week, which must needs seem long, when they are sitting close at
work from morning to night. In general, they are more faithful than
any of the other classes of the frail part of the sex, and may be
supported at little expense, and without scandal.

It would require almost the powers of the inquisition to ascertain
whether _grisettes_ have increased or diminished since the
revolution; but their number is, and always has been, immense in
Paris. An object highly deserving of the attention of the French
legislators would be to find a remedy for this evil. A mortal blow
should, no doubt, be struck at the luxury of the toilet; as the rage
for dress has, I am convinced, undermined the virtue of as many women
as the vile stratagems of all the Lotharios in being. Leaving these
matters to some modern Lycurgus, I shall end my letter. But, in my
eager haste to close it, I must not omit a class, which has increased
in a proportion equal to the decrease of kept women. As they have no
precise designation in France, I shall take the liberty of applying
to them, that of

DEMIREPS.

Without having the shameless effrontery of vice, these ladies have
not the austere rigour of virtue. Seeing that professed courtesans
insnared the most promising youths, and snatched them from other
women, this description of females sprang up, in a manner, to dispute
with them, under the rose, the advantages which the others derived
from their traffic. If they have not the same boldness in their
carriage, their looks bespeak almost as much complaisance. They
declaim loudly against women of all the classes before-mentioned, for
the best possible reason; because these are their more dangerous
rivals. It is certain that a virtuous woman cannot hold the breach of
chastity too much in abhorrence, but every Lucretia ought to have "a
tear for pity," especially towards the fallen part of her sex.
Nothing can be more disgusting than to hear women, who are known to
have transgressed, forget their own frailties, and rail against the
more unguarded, and, consequently, more artless part of womankind,
without mercy or justice.

Demireps, in general, profess the greatest disinterestedness in their
connexions; but if they receive no money at the moment of granting
their favours, they accept trinkets and other presents which have
some value. It is not at all uncommon for a man to think that he has
a _bonne fortune_, when he finds himself on terms of intimacy with
such a woman. Enraptured at his success, he repeats his visits, till
one day he surprises his belle, overwhelmed by despair. He eagerly
inquires the cause. After much entreaty, she informs him that she has
had ill luck at play, and, with anguish in her looks, laments that
she is ruined beyond redemption. The too credulous admirer can do no
less than accommodate her secretly with a sufficient sum to prevent
her from being taken to task by her husband; and thus the
disinterested lady proves, in the end, a greater drain to the
gallant's pocket than the most mercenary courtesan.

The man who would wish to recommend himself to their favour, scarcely
need take any further trouble than to change some of their trinkets,
which are no longer in fashion. Sometimes he may meet with a husband,
who, conniving at his wife's infidelity, will shew him every mark of
attention. In that case, the lover is quite at home, and his presence
being equally agreeable to the obliging husband as to the kind wife,
when they are all three assembled, they seem to fit their several
places like the three sides of an equilateral triangle.

Since the revolution, the increase of demireps is said to have
diminished most sensibly the class of what are termed kept women.
Indeed, it is affirmed by some, that the number of the former has,
within these few years, multiplied in a tenfold proportion. Others
again maintain that it is no greater than it was formerly; because,
say they, the state of society in Paris is not near so favourable to
amorous intrigue as that which existed under the old _regime_. Riches
being more equally divided, few persons, comparatively speaking, are
now sufficiently affluent to entertain large parties, and give routs,
balls, and suppers, where a numerous assemblage afforded, to those
inclined to dissipation, every opportunity of cultivating an intimate
acquaintance. I must confess that these reasons, assigned by some
worthy Frenchmen whose opinions I respect, do not altogether accord
with the result of my observation; and, without taking on myself to
controvert them, I am persuaded that truth will bear me out in
asserting, that, if the morals of that class of society in which I
have chiefly mixed during the different periods of my stay in France,
are not deteriorated, they are certainly not improved since I last
visited Paris.

After having painted, in regular succession, and with colours
occasionally borrowed, the general portrait of all those classes of
females whose likeness every English traveller has, no doubt, met
with, I must find a little corner of my canvass for a small number of
women who might, probably, be sought in vain out of Paris. However
great a recommendation their rarity may be in the eyes of some, still
it is not the only quality that points them out to the notice of the
impartial observer.

When a man has come to his senses respecting the sex, or, according
to the vulgar adage, sown his wild oats, he naturally seeks a sincere
friend to whom he can unbosom himself with confidence. Experience
warns him that few men are to be trusted; and unless he has had the
good fortune to meet with a virtuous wife, blessed with an engaging
temper and a good understanding, he must even, like Junius, be the
depository of his own secret. In Paris, however, he may find one of
those scarce females, who, being accustomed early in life to
reflection, possess the firm mind of a man, combined with the quick
sensibility of a woman.

When the illusion of the first passions is dissipated, their reason
becomes unclouded. Renouncing every narrow thought, they raise
themselves to the knowledge of the most weighty affairs, and, by an
active observation of mankind, are accustomed to discriminate every
shade of character. Hence their penetration is great; and they are
capable of giving good advice on important occasions. In short, a
French woman at thirty makes an excellent friend, and, attaching
herself to the man she esteems, thinks no sacrifice too great for the
advancement of his interest, or the security of his happiness or
reputation.

The friendship between man and woman is a thousand times more sweet
than that between one man and another. A woman's friendship is
active, vigilant, and at the same time tender. French women cherish
more sincerely their old friends than their young lovers. They may
perchance deceive the lover, but never the friend; the latter they
consider as a sacred being. Whence, no doubt, Rousseau (who has not
spared the Parisian ladies) has been led to say: "I would never have
sought in Paris a wife, still less a mistress; but I would willingly
have made there a female friend; and this treasure would, perhaps,
have consoled me for not finding the other two."



LETTER XL.

_Paris, December 27, 1801._

About thirty years ago, a public insult offered to human nature, in
the person of some unfortunate blind men belonging to the Hospital of
the _Quinze-vingts_, and repeated daily for the space of two months,
suggested to a spectator the idea of avenging it in a manner worthy
of a true philanthropist.

In a coffeehouse of the _Foire St. Ovide_, in Paris, were placed ten
blind beggars, muffled up in grotesque dresses and long pointed caps,
with large paste-board spectacles on their nose, without glass: music
and lights were set before them; and one of them was characterized as
Midas, with the ears of an ass, and the addition of a peacock's tail,
spread behind him. He sang, while all the others played the same
parts of a monotonous tune, without either taste or measure; and the
unfeeling public turned into derision the unfortunate actors in this
infamous scene. This happened in September 1771.

From that moment, M. VALENTIN HAUeY, brother to the celebrated
mineralogist of that name, animated by a noble enthusiasm, conceived
the project of teaching the blind to write and read, and of placing
in their hands books and music, printed by themselves. After
employing twelve years in maturing it, at length, in 1784, he
ventured to carry it into execution. To so laudable and benevolent a
purpose, he devoted all his fortune; and hence originated the
establishment known in Paris, since the year 1791, by the title of

NATIONAL INSTITUTION OF THE INDUSTRIOUS BLIND.

Presently M. HAUeY found his plan seconded by the Philanthropic
Society, and the benefactions and advice of several persons, no less
distinguished for understanding than benevolence, contributed not a
little to encourage his zeal in its prosecution. The following were
the primary objects of the establishment.

1. To withdraw the blind from the dangerous paths of idleness.

2. To procure them certain means of subsistence by the execution of
pleasant and easy labours.

3. To restore them to society.

4. To console them for their misfortune.

To rescue the blind from idleness is, unquestionably, of itself a
great blessing, as it preserves them from an infinite number of
vices, and consequently must be approved by the moralist. But another
advantage, equally deserving of approbation, is to cause them to
find, in their labour, an infallible resource against indigence.
Previously to the execution of this beneficent plan, a young blind
child, born of poor parents, was reduced to the melancholy and
humiliating necessity of standing in a public thoroughfare, exposed
to all the inclemency of the weather, to beg its bread, and, at
present, it has no occasion to owe its livelihood but to its own
labour.

The children that M. HAUeY had to educate were, in general, of the
class of artisans, though a few belonged to that of artists and men
of science. Some were born with a little aptitude for mechanical
labours, others with a great disposition for the arts and sciences.
These considerations naturally pointed out to him his plan of
instruction, which is divided into four branches.

I. Handicraft work, viz. Spinning, knitting, making of cord, fringe,
trimming, ribband, pasteboard, &c.

Task-masters direct the execution of these works, which are as easy
to the blind as to the clear-sighted.

II. Education, viz. Reading, writing, arithmetic, geography,
literature, history, foreign languages, arts and sciences.

This education of blind children is carried on by means of
raised-work or relief, and is intrusted to other blind people
whose education is completed. The latter not only instruct their
unfortunate fellow-sufferers, but also the clear-sighted.

The sense of feeling is so refined in blind children, that a pupil, a
little informed, becomes perfectly acquainted with maps by handling
them: he points out with his finger countries and towns; if a map is
presented to him upside down, he places it in a proper manner, and if
one map is substituted to another, he instantly discovers the
deception.

III. Printing, viz. In black characters, for the public. In relief,
for themselves.

In black, they have printed no inconsiderable number of voluminous
works, for the use of the public. In relief, they have printed for
themselves a catechism, a grammar, and a great quantity of music. No
where but at this institution, and at the MUSEUM OF THE BLIND, of
which I shall presently speak, is there to be found an office for
printing in relief.

IV. Music, viz. Vocal and instrumental, and composition.

The music of the blind pupils has always been employed with the
greatest success in public festivals, playhouses, balls,
coffeehouses, and many public and private assemblies. It is
impossible to form an adequate idea of the decided taste of the blind
for music, and of the consolation which it affords them. Deprived of
their eyes, they seem to become all ears.

No sooner had M. HAUeY rendered public his first essays, than the
learned, and especially the members of the _ci-devant_ Academy of
Sciences, stamped them with their approbation, as appears by a Report
signed by some of the most distinguished of that body, such as
DESMARETS, LA ROCHEFOUCAULT, CONDORCET, &c. Professors of the arts,
cultivated by his pupils, such as printing, music, &c. were equally
eager to acknowledge to what an astonishing degree the blind had
succeeded in appropriating to themselves the enjoyment of those arts.
Three of the first master-printers in Paris certified the
intelligence and skill of the blind pupils; and a concert was
executed by them to the no small satisfaction of the _ci-devant_
Academy of Music.

Persons of every degree now wished to be spectators of the result of
these essays. Lewis XVI sent for the Industrious Blind, their
machinery, &c. to Versailles; he visited them when at work, and
inspected their several performances, attended by all the royal
family, princes of the blood, ministers, ambassadors, &c. After
having procured the inhabitants of that town this interesting sight
for several successive days, he rewarded the blind with marks of his
favour and encouragement.

The government, which succeeded to the monarchy, shewed no less
interest in the progress of M. HAUeY'S undertaking. The different
legislatures, which have successively governed France, promoted it by
various decrees. In proportion as the number of the pupils increased,
so did the resources of their industrious activity. By a law which
was solicited by M. HAUeY, and which excited and kept up a singular
emulation among his pupils, the blind, in preference to the
clear-sighted of equal merit, were admitted to the various secondary
employments of the establishment. From that period, the first blind
pupils, formed by M. HAUeY, being promoted to the functions of
teachers, transmitted with success to young blind children, sent for
instruction, from different parts of the Republic, the first elements
of education given them by himself and assistants. By virtue of this
law, the office of house-steward was intrusted to LESUEUR, a blind
pupil who had already discharged it with credit at a banker's. It
will scarcely be believed, no doubt, that a blind man can be a
cashier, receive money coming in, either from the public treasury, or
from the industry of his brothers in misfortune; make of it a
suitable division; buy commodities  necessary for life and clothing;
introduce the strictest economy into his disbursements; by means of
his savings, procure the establishment the implements and machinery
of the Industrious Blind; in times of real scarcity, make use of the
productions of the labour of the grown blind, to maintain the young
blind pupils, and that, with all these concerns on his hands, his
accounts should always be ready for inspection.

M. HAUeY informs me that out of fifteen or twenty of his old pupils,
whom he has connected by the ties of marriage, ten or twelve are
fathers; and that they have children more fortunate than the authors
of their days, since the enjoy the benefit of sight. But the most
interesting part of these connexions is, that the blind father (on
the principle of the plan before-stated) teaches his clear-sighted
son reading, arithmetic, music, and every thing that it is possible
to teach without the help of the eyes.

Raised work, or relief, is the simple and general process by means of
which M. HAUeY forms his pupils, and there are a great number of them
whose abilities would excite the pride of many a clear-sighted
person. For instance, in addition to the before-mentioned LESUEUR,
who is an excellent geographer and a good mathematician, might be
quoted HUARD, a man of erudition and a correct printer; likewise
CAILLAT, a capital performer on the violin, and a celebrated
composer. For vocal and instrumental music, printing, and handicraft
work, there might be noticed thirty or forty, as well as ten or
twelve for knowledge relating to the sciences.

It may not be improper to observe, that M. HAUeY always first puts a
frame into the hands of his pupils, and that he has made a law, to
which he scrupulously adheres, not to lean too much towards the
_agreeable_ arts, unless the pupil manifest for them a peculiar
disposition.

Hence you may form an idea of the proficiency which these
unfortunates attain under the auspices of the benevolent M. HAUeY. In
the compass of a letter, or even of several letters, it is impossible
to develope proceedings which it is more easy to put into execution
than to describe. The process alone of printing in relief would
require a vast number of pages, and some plates, in order to make it
perfectly intelligible; but the greater part of what composes these
branches of instruction is amply detailed in a work, which I shall
communicate to you, entitled "_Essai sur l'Education des Aveugles_,
_par_ Valentin Hauey, _auteur de la maniere de les instruire_,"
printed under the sanction of the _ci-devant_ Academy of Sciences.

By a law on public education, passed in July 1796, several
establishments were to be founded in favour of blind children, in the
principal towns of the Republic; but, in consequence of the political
changes which have since occurred in the government, it has never
been carried into execution.

In October, 1800, the Consuls decreed that the _National Institution
of the Industrious Blind_ should be united to the Hospital of the
_Quinze-vingts_, together with the soldiers who had lost their sight
in Egypt. M. HAUeY is shortly to be honoured by a pension, as a reward
for the services which he has bestowed on those afflicted with
blindness. At the present moment, he is engaged in founding a second
establishment, of a similar nature, which is to take the name of

MUSEUM OF THE BLIND.

On my asking M. HAUeY, whether he would not retire, as it was intended
he should, on his pension? "This favour of the government," replied
he, "I consider as a fresh obligation, silently imposed on me, to
continue to be of service to the blind. The first establishment,
supported and paid by the nation, belonged to the poor. In forming
the second," added he, "I have yielded to the wishes of parents in
easy circumstances, who were desirous of giving to their blind
children a liberal education."

I have already mentioned, that, agreeably to M. HAUeY'S plan, the
blind instruct the clear-sighted; and in this Museum, which is
situated _Rue Sainte Avoie, Hotel de Mesme, No. 19_, the former are
to be seen directing a class of fifty youths, whom they instruct in
every branch before-mentioned, writing excepted. It is also in
contemplation to teach a blind pupil _pasigraphy_, or universal
language, invented by DEMAIMIEUX.

M. HAUeY details to strangers every part of his plan with the most
patient and obliging attention. When he had concluded, I could not
avoid expressing a wish that the art of instructing the blind in the
fullest extent might be speedily introduced among all nations. "After
having paid to my country," rejoined M. HAUeY, "the merited homage of
my invention, my anxiety to contribute to the relief of the
afflicted, wherever they may be found, gives birth to the desire of
propagating, as much as possible, an institution which enlightened
men and philanthropists have been pleased to recommend to the
attention of foreigners and to the esteem of my countrymen, as may be
seen by consulting different literary publications from the year 1785
down to the present time, particularly the new French Encyclopaedia,
at the article _Aveugle_."

"I should," added he, "perform a task very agreeable to my feelings
in concurring, by my advice and knowledge, to lay in England the
foundation of an establishment of a description similar to either of
those which I have founded in Paris. One of my pupils in the art of
instructing the blind, M. GRANCHER, a member of several learned
societies in France, and possessed of my means and method, would
voluntarily devote his talents and experience to the success of such
an undertaking, to which he is himself strongly attached through
philanthropy and zeal for my reputation."--"I am persuaded,"
interrupted I, "that were the advantages of such an establishment
made public in England, it would receive the countenance and support
of every friend of human nature."--"It is an unquestionable fact,"
concluded M. Hauey, "that an institution of fifty blind, well
conducted, ought, by their labour, to produce more than would defray
its expenses. I have already even tried with success to apply to the
English tongue my method of reading, which is so contrived for the
French language, that I need not give more than two or three lessons
to a blind child, in order to enable him to teach himself to read,
without the further help of any master."



LETTER XLI.

_Paris, December 29, 1801._

Such a crowd of different objects present themselves to my mind,
whenever I sit down to write to you, that, frequently as I have
visited the Grand French Opera since my arrival here, I have been
hesitating whether I should make it the subject of this letter.
However, as it is one of the first objects of attraction to a
stranger, and the first in a theatrical point of view, I think you
cannot be too soon introduced to a knowledge of its allurements. Let
us then pass in review the

THEATRE DES ARTS ET DE LA REPUBLIQUE.[1]

Previously to the revolution, the French opera-house, under the name
of _Academie Royale de Musique_, was situated on the Boulevard, near
the _Porte St. Martin_. Except the facade, which has been admired,
there was nothing very remarkable in the construction of this
theatre, but the dispatch with which it was executed.

The old opera-house in the _Palais Royal_ having been burnt down on
the 8th of June 1781, M. LENOIR, the architect, built a new one in
the short space of sixty days, and, within a fortnight after, it was
decorated and opened. Had an hospital been reduced to ashes, observes
an able writer, it would have required four years at least to
determine on the eligibility of new plans.--But a theatre,
constructed with such expedition, excited apprehensions respecting
its stability: it was necessary to remove them, and, by way of
_trying the house_, the first representation was given _gratis_. This
had the desired effect: after having sustained the weight of between
two and three thousand market-women, oyster-wenches, shoe-blacks,
chimney-sweepers, porters, &c, it was deemed sufficiently solid to
receive a more refined audience.

At the beginning of the year 1793, the interior of this quickly-built
theatre was also destroyed by fire. But the opera experienced no
interruption: such an event would be regarded as a public calamity in
the capital. In fact, this expensive establishment affords employ to
a vast number of persons. The singers, dancers, musicians,
machinists, painters, tailors, dress-makers, scene-shifters, &c.
attached to it, would constitute a little nation. The richness and
variety of the dresses give activity to several branches of trade,
and its representations involve all the agreeable arts. These united
attractions captivate foreigners, and induce them to squander
considerable sums of money in the country. Hence, were the
opera-house shut up, commerce would suffer; there would be an
absolute void in the pleasures of the Parisians; and, as experience
proves, these volatile people would sooner resign every thing most
valuable than any portion of their amusements. Besides, without such
an establishment, the talents of singers and dancers could not be
maintained in their present perfection. It holds out to them constant
encouragement and remuneration; while, compared to any other theatre,
it excites in the spectators a greater number of pleasing sensations.
How then could it be dispensed with?

Accordingly, when the disaster befell the theatre of the _Porte St.
Martin_, it was considered as a fortunate circumstance that the
present opera-house was just finished. The performers of the
_ci-devant Academie de Musique_ immediately established themselves
in this new asylum, which is situated in the _Rue de la Loi_, facing
the National Library, and opened it to the public under the name of
_Theatre des Arts_. I must observe, by the way, that, in France, all
players, dancers, musicians, and every one who exercises an art, are
now styled _artistes_.

The form of this house is nearly a parallelogram: one of the shorter
sides is occupied by the stage, and the other three are slightly
curved. In general, one is ill placed here, except in the boxes in
front of the stage, and in the pit, the seats of which rise abruptly,
in the manner of an amphitheatre, from the orchestra to the first
tier of boxes. The Chief Consul has chosen for himself the stage-box,
as I believe we term it in England, on the right hand of the actors.
It is elegantly decorated with scarlet velvet, embroidered in gold.
The ornaments (I am not speaking of the scenery) are neither of
superlative elegance, nor do they display extraordinary taste. The
curtain, however, is majestic and beautiful, as well as the ceiling.

"Here," says a French author, "arts, graces, genius, and taste
conspire to produce a most magnificent, a most brilliant, and most
enchanting spectacle. Here heroes come to life again to sing their
love and their despair; here many a goddess is seen to mix with
mortals, many a Venus to descend from the radiant Olympus in order to
throw herself into the arms of more than one Anchises."--Certainly,
if splendid decorations, rich and appropriate dresses, the most
skilful machinists, the most distinguished composers, a numerous and
most select orchestra, some excellent actors, together with the most
celebrated dancers in Europe, of both sexes, constitute a brilliant
spectacle, this justly deserves that title. In these magnificent
arrangements, we see again the Grand French Opera, as it appeared in
the most splendid days of the monarchy. With the exception of the
singing, every other department at this theatre is much improved; the
only drawback that I can discover at the representation of the same
pieces, which I have often seen here before the revolution, consists
in the exterior of the spectators. Between the acts, when I transport
myself in idea to the former period, and, looking round the house,
form a comparison, I find the republican audience far less brilliant,
owing, no doubt, to the absence of that glare of diamonds,
embroidery, lace, and other finery, which distinguished the
frequenters of the opera under the old government.

The performances at the opera being, in general, more calculated for
charming the eyes and ears, than gratifying the understanding, it is,
consequently, the most frequented of any of the capital.

  "-------- With the many
  Action is eloquence, and th' eyes of th' ignorant
  More learned than their ears."

There is, however, no piece represented at this theatre that a
stranger ought not to see, either on account of the music, or of the
spectacle and its decorations. The operas, or lyric tragedies, which,
from the number of times they have been performed, appear to have
obtained the greatest success, are those of GLUCK. The originality,
the energy, the force and truth of declamation of this great musician
were likely to render him successful, especially among the French,
who applauded the two last-mentioned qualities on their other
national theatre.

With the exception of one only, all the works of GLUCK have remained
as stock-pieces, and are played from time to time. They are five in
number; namely, _Iphigenie en Aulide_, _Iphigenie en Tauride_,
_Orphee et Euridice_, _Armide_, and _Alceste_. That which could not
maintain its ground, and consequently fell, was _Narcisse_. The
flimsiness of the poem was the cause; for the music, I am assured, is
the finest that GLUCK ever composed, and several pieces of it have
been repeatedly performed in the Parisian concerts.

The _Didon_ of PICCINI and the _OEdipe a Colonne_ of SACCHINI have
had no less success than the operas of GLUCK. They are very
frequently represented.

It may not, perhaps, be unseasonable to remind you that, from twenty
to twenty-five years ago, when the old operas of LULLI and RAMEAU
were laid aside, and replaced by modern works, two parties were
formed, which, from the name of the musician that each adopted, were
called, the one, _Gluckists_; and the other, _Piccinists_. Their
inveteracy was great, somewhat like that which, forty years before,
existed between the _Molinists_ and _Jansenists_: and few persons, if
any, I believe, remained neuter. Victory seems to have crowned the
former party. Indeed the music of GLUCK possesses a melody which is
wonderfully energetic and striking. PICCINI is skilful and brilliant
in his harmony, as well as sweet and varied in his composition; but
this style of beauty has been thought to be deficient in expression.
Truth obliges me to say, that, of PICCINI'S works, no opera is now
played but his _Didon_, and that his other productions, which, to the
best of my recollection, are _Alys_, an opera called _Iphigenie en
Tauride_, and _Penelope_, have fallen. This was ascribed to the
mediocrity of the language; a part of an opera somewhat essential,
though no great attention seems to be bestowed on it. But if people
here are not very difficult as to the style of the language, they
require at least an action well conducted and interesting. When the
piece is of itself cold, it is not in the power of the finest music
to give it warmth. The _OEdipe a Colonne_ of SACCHINI is reckoned by
many persons the _chef-d'oeuvre_ of operas. That able musician has
there excelled in all that is graceful, noble, and pathetic; but it
exhibits not the tragic fire that is to be found in the works of
GLUCK. SACCHINI has left behind him another composition, called
_Arvire et Eveline_, which, though a cold subject, taken from the
history of England, is held in estimation.

At this theatre are also performed what the French term _operas de
genre_. These are a species of comic opera, in which is introduced a
great deal of show and bustle. _Panurge_, _La Caravanne_, _Anacreon_,
_Tarare_, _Les Pretendus_, _Les Mysteres d'Isis_, &c. are of this
description. The music of the first three is by GRETRY. It is
considered as replete with grace, charm, and truth of expression. The
poem of _Panurge_ is an _estravaganza_. Those of the _Caravanne_ and
of _Anacreon_ are but indifferent. It required no small share of
talent to put words into the mouth of the charming poet, whose name
is given to the last-mentioned piece; but M. GUY appears not to have
thought of this. _Tarare_ is a tissue of improbabilities and
absurdities. The poem is frequently nothing but an assemblage of
words which present no meaning. It is a production of the celebrated
BEAUMARCHAIS, who has contrived to introduce into it a sort of
impious metaphysics, much in fashion here before the revolution. The
music is by SALIERI; it is very agreeable. The decorations are
brilliant and diversified. The piece is preceded by a prologue (which
no other opera has) representing the confusion and separation of the
elements; and at the time of its first appearance, I remember it was
said that chaos was the image of the author's head.

_Les Pretendus_ is a piece in one act, the plot of which is weak,
though of a gay cast. The music is charming. It is by LE MOYNE, who
died a few years ago, at an early period of life. _Les Mysteres
d'Isis_, which is now the rage, is an incoherent parody from a German
opera, called _the Enchanted Flute_. To say that the music is by
MOZART, dispenses me from any eulogium. The decorations are extremely
beautiful and varied: a scene representing paradise is really
enchanting.

After speaking of lyric tragedies, I should have mentioned those
which are either in rehearsal, or intended to be brought forward at
this theatre. They consist of _Hecube_, _Andromaque_, _Semiramis_,
and _Tamerlan_. Although none of them are spoken of very highly, they
will, in all probability, succeed in a certain degree; for a piece
scarcely ever has a complete fall at the opera. This theatre has so
many resources in the decorations, music, and dancing, that a new
piece is seldom destitute of something worth seeing.

What, at the present day, proves the greatest attraction to the
opera, is the dancing. How bad soever may be a piece, when it is
interspersed with fine ballets, it is sure of having a certain run.
Of these I shall say no more till I come to speak of that department.

The weakest part of the performances at the opera is the singing. All
are agreed as to the mediocrity of the singers at this theatre,
called _lyric_. No one can say that, within the last ten or twelve
years, they are improved. To any person fond of the Italian style, it
would be a sort of punishment to attend while some of the singers
here go through a scene. On the stage of the French comic opera, it
has been adopted, and here also a similar change is required; but
with the will to accomplish it, say its partisans, the means,
perhaps, might still be wanting. The greater part of the old
performers have lost their voice, and those who have not, do not
appear to have sufficiently followed the progress of modern taste to
be able all at once to embrace a new manner.

The first singer at the opera, in point of talent, is LAIS. He even
leaves all the others far behind him, if we consider him only as a
singer. He is a _tenore_, according to the expression of the
Italians, and a _taille_, according to that of the French: in the
_cantabile_ or graceful style, he is perfect; but he ought to avoid
tragic pieces requiring exertion, in which his voice, though
flexible, is sometimes disagreeable, and even harsh. Besides, he is
absolutely deficient in nobleness of manner; and his stature and
countenance are better suited to low character. Indeed, he chiefly
performs in the operas termed here _operas de genre_, such as
_Panurge_, _La Caravanne_, _Anacreon_, and _Les Pretendus_. In these,
his acting is correct, and his delivery judicious.

LAIS is no less famous for the violence of his political opinions
than for his talents as a singer. At the period when the abettors of
the reign of terror were, in their turn, hunted down, for a long time
he durst not appear on the stage. He was accused by his brother
performers of having said that the opera would never go on well till
a guillotine should be placed on the stage. This stroke was levelled
against the greater part of the actors and the musicians belonging to
the orchestra. However, as LAIS could not be reproached with any
culpable _actions_, he found zealous defenders, and the public
sacrificed their resentment to their pleasure. This lenity appears
not to have had on him the effect which one would imagine. He still
possesses every requisite for singing well, but seems indifferent as
to the means of pleasing, and exerts himself but little.

If singers were esteemed by seniority, and perhaps by employment,
LAINEZ would be reckoned the first at this theatre. He is a
counter-tenor, and performs the parts of a lover. His voice is very
strong, and, besides singing through his nose, he screams loud enough
to split one's ears. I have already observed that the ears of a
tasteful amateur would sometimes be shocked at this theatre. The
same remark, no doubt, was equally just some time ago; for J. J.
ROUSSEAU, when he was told that it was intended to restore to him
the free admission which he had enjoyed at the opera, replied that
this was unnecessary, because he had at the door of his
country-residence the screech owls of the forest of Montmorency.
Those who are partial to LAINEZ think him an excellent actor. This
means that he has some warmth, and bestirs himself like a demoniac.
When the heroes of the opera wore hair-powder, nothing was more
comic than to see him shake his head, which was instantly enveloped
in a cloud of dust. At this signal the plaudits burst forth with
great violence, and the would-be singer, screaming with still
greater loudness, seemed on the point of bursting a blood-vessel.

It is reported that, not long since, a great personage having sent
for the _artists_ belonging to the opera, said to them, addressing
himself to LAINEZ, "Gentlemen, do you intend to keep long your old
singers?"[2] The same personage then turning round to the dancers
added, "As for you, gentlemen of the dance, none but compliments can
be paid to you."

LAFORET who (as the French express it), _doubles_ LAINEZ, that is,
performs the same characters in his absence, has little more to
recommend him than his zeal. His voice is tolerably agreeable, but
not strong enough for so large a house. As an actor he is cold and
aukward.

Next comes CHERON: he sings bass. His voice is strong, and the tone
of it sonorous and clear. However, it is thought to be weakened, and
although this singer sometimes throws out fine tones, he is
reproached with a want of taste and method. He is a sorry actor.
Indeed, he very seldom makes his appearance, which some attribute to
idleness; and others, to his state of health. The latter is likely to
be occasionally deranged, as in point of epicurism, he has as great a
reputation as our celebrated Quin.

ADRIEN, who _doubles_ CHERON, is an excellent actor; but his means do
not equal his intelligence. He presents himself wonderfully well; all
his movements, all his gestures have dignity, grace, and ease. There
are, for the same employment, other secondary singers, some of whom
are by no means backward in exertion, particularly DUFRESNE; but an
impartial observer can say nothing more in their commendation.

Let us now examine the qualifications of _Mesdames les cantatrices_.

The first female singer at the opera is Mademoiselle MAILLARD. By
means of a rather pretty face, a clear voice, and a cabal of
malcontents (for there are some every where and in every line), she
obtained loud applause, when she first appeared some years ago as the
rival of the charming ST. HUBERTI. Since the revolution, France has
lost this celebrated actress, and probably for ever. She emigrated,
and has since married the _ci-devant_ Comte d'Antraigues. Although
she had not a powerful voice, she sang with the greatest perfection;
and her impressive and dignified style of acting was at least equal
to her singing.

At the present day, Mademoiselle MAILLARD has succeeded Madame ST.
HUBERTI, and is, as I have said, the first singer, in point of rank.
She is become enormous in bulk, and as the Italians express it,
_canta a salti_. Her powerful voice fills the house, but she is not
unfrequently out of tune: her declamation is noisy; while her
masculine person gives her in all her motions the air of a Bacchante.
These qualities, no doubt, recommended her to the notice of
CHAUMETTE, the proclaimer of atheism, under whose auspices she more
than once figured as the goddess of reason. She has, nevertheless,
occasionally distinguished herself as an actress; and those who love
noise, admire the effect of her transitions. But I give the
preference to Mademoiselle LATOUR, who has a melodious pipe, which
you will probably hear, as it is said that she has not retired from
the stage, where she frequently reminded the public of the
fascinating ST. HUBERTI, particularly in the character of _Didon_.

Since the prolonged absence of Mademoiselle LATOUR, Madame BRANCHU
_doubles_ Mademoiselle MAILLARD. She is of much promise both as a
singer and actress. Her voice is agreeable, but not extensive.

Mademoiselle ARMAND is another most promising singer, who has a more
powerful organ than Madame BRANCHU, and when she has perfectly
acquired the art of modulating it, will, doubtless, prove a very
valuable acquisition to this theatre. Her voice has much sweetness,
and sometimes conveys to the ear the most flattering sounds, as its
low tones are grave without being harsh, and its high ones sonorous
without being sharp. She seems to execute the most difficult pieces
of music with considerable ease; but she is deficient in action.

Mademoiselle HENRY is strong as to method, but weak as to means, in
singing. There are several other female singers; but, in my opinion,
their merits do not entitle them to particular mention.

Twelve or fourteen years ago, the opera was much better provided with
singers than it is at the present moment. Their voices, in every line
of this department, were well-toned and powerful. They easily reached
the highest notes according to the tone given by the diapason. Since
then, the powers of most of the singers who still remain on the stage
have diminished, and those called in to supply the place of such as
are dead or have retired, are not near so rich in voice as their
predecessors. The diapason, however, has remained the same: to this,
in a great measure, may be attributed those shrieks and efforts which
disgust foreigners, unaccustomed to the French method. At the
Parisian comic opera, in consequence of a remonstrance from the
principal singers, their diapason has been lowered half a tone; and
it seems necessary to examine whether the same rule be not applicable
to this theatre.

The choruses, notwithstanding, are now given here with more effect
and precision than I ever remember at any former period. In these,
the ear is no longer offended by exaggerated extensions of the voice,
and, on the whole, they are sung in a grand and graceful style.

The orchestra, which is ably led by REY, has also experienced a
manifest improvement. The principal musicians, I understand, have
been recently changed; and the first artists are engaged for the
execution of the solos, and nothing can now be wished for, either as
to the spirit and correctness of the overtures, or to the melody and
taste of the accompaniments.

The Chief Consul is said to be particularly partial to Italian music.
In consequence, KREUTZER, a capital violin, and also a celebrated
composer, has been dispatched to Italy by the French government, for
the express purpose of selecting and purchasing the finest musical
compositions which can be procured in that land of harmony. Thus, the
advice given by ROUSSEAU, in his _Dictionnaire de Musique_, has at
length been followed.

So much for the singing department of the opera, which, as you see,
with some exceptions, is but indifferent: in my next, I shall speak
of the dancing.

[Footnote 1: Since the above letter was written, this Lyric theatre
has changed its name for that of _Theatre de l'Opera_. This seems
like one of the minor modifications, announcing the general
retrograde current setting towards the readoption of old habits; for
the denomination of _Theatre des Arts_ was certainly unobjectionable,
as poetry, music, dancing, painting, and mechanics, concurred in
rendering more pompous and more surprising the effects which a
fertile genius, when governed by reason, might assemble here for the
gratification of the public. The addition of the words _et de la
Republique_ was probably given to it from patriotic zeal, at the time
when the _Royal Academy of Music_ was abolished by the decree which
annihilated all similar monarchical institutions.]

[Footnote 2: It appears that, from pique, this old opera-singer
refused to sing on Easter-Sunday last, (1802) at the cathedral of
_Notre-Dame_.]



LETTER XLII

_Paris, December 30, 1801_.

Dancing, like the other arts in France, has, during the revolution,
experienced the vicissitudes of this new order of things; but also,
like the other arts, it has made a progress equally astonishing and
rapid. However, it must not thence be inferred that dancing,
particularly theatrical, had not attained a certain degree of
superiority long before the revolution; yet a most evident
improvement has been made in it, not only by the old-established
dancers, who then seemed almost to have done their best, but by the
numerous competitors who have since made their appearance.

It is not in the power of words to convey an adequate idea of the
effect produced on the senses by some of the ballets. In lieu of
those whimsical capers, forced attitudes, vague and undefined
gestures of a set of dancers whose movements had no signification,
dancing now forms an animated, graceful, and diversified picture, in
which all the human passions are feelingly pourtrayed. Their language
is the more expressive from its being more refined and concentrated.
In the silence of pantomime, recourse is had to every ingenious
gesture, in order to impart to them greater force and energy; and, in
this mute play, restraint seems to kindle eloquence. Every motion has
its meaning; the foot speaks as well as the eye, and the sensations
of the mind are expressed by the attitudes of the body. A delicate
sentiment is rendered with the rapidity of lightning. Love, fear,
hope, and despair, change countenances, and say every thing that they
wish to say, void of deceit, as if falsehood no longer existed as
soon as the mouth ceased to open.

It should not be forgotten that it was NOVERRE who first brought
about in France this reform in what were till then called ballets,
without deserving the title. He banished wigs, hoop-petticoats, and
other preposterous habiliments, and, by dint of superior genius,
seconded by taste and perseverance, introduced those historical
pictures, replete with grace, expression, and sentiment, in the room
of the flat, insipid, and lifeless caricatures, which had hitherto
usurped admiration.

But, though NOVERRE, and, after him, the GARDELS, introduced on the
Parisian stage the pantomimic art in all the lustre in which it
flourished on the theatres of Greece and Rome, yet they had been
anticipated by HILWERDING in Germany, and ANGIOLINI in Italy, two
celebrated men, who, in a distinguished manner, laid the foundations
of a species of modern entertainment, before known only by the annals
of ancient history. Those who have trod in their steps have
infinitely surpassed them in attractions, and, by their scientific
compositions, acquired a justly-merited reputation.

GARDEL, who, for the last fifteen years, has been the first dancer at
the opera, shews himself but seldom. After having, during that long
period, received the warmest and best deserved applause, either in
the execution of the noble style of dancing, or in the composition of
ballets, he seems now to have devoted himself almost exclusively to
the last-mentioned branch of his art, and the perfection to which he
daily carries it, may well compensate the public for the privation of
his talents in the line of execution.

The most famous pantomimical ballets or _ballets d'action_ (as they
are styled) now represented here, are _Psyche_, _Telemaque_, _Le
Jugement de Paris_, _Mirza_, and _la Dansomanie_. The impression to
which I have before alluded, is particularly observable during the
representation of the first three (composed by GARDEL), the charm of
which would be weakened by any attempt at description. No spectator,
be his disposition ever so cold and indifferent, can behold them
unmoved. Every effort of human skill and invention is exerted to
excite astonishment and admiration. The _ensemble_ of the _spectacle_
and decorations correspond to the fertile genius of the author. It is
the triumph of the art, and there may be fixed the limits of
pantomime, embellished by dancing. Nothing more perfect than the
rapid change of scenery. Meteors, apparitions, divinities borne on
clusters of clouds or in cars, appear and disappear, as if by
enchantment, exhibiting situations the most picturesque and striking.

BOULAY, the principal machinist, is, perhaps, the first in his line
in Europe. In the opera of _Armide_, I have seen him raise into the
air nearly one half of the theatre. He executes whatever is proposed
to him, no matter how difficult, and he is well seconded by the
painters and draughtsmen. The new decorations display much taste, and
produce an effect truly wonderful.

Had I not already made the remark, you might have concluded from the
general tenour of my observations, that the dancing forms the most
brilliant part, of the _spectacle_ at this theatre, or, in other
words, that the accessory prevails over the main subject. It is no
longer, as heretofore, a few capital dancers of both sexes who form
the ornament of the opera. Almost all the competitors in this line
are so many _virtuosi_ who deserve and equally participate the
plaudits of the public. There is not among them any mediocrity. The
establishment of the _ecole de la danse_ is for this theatre a
nursery, where Terpsichore finds, in great numbers, the most
promising plants for the decoration of her temple. It is saying
little to affirm that nothing equals the superiority of talents of
this description which the opera comprehends at the present moment.
These advantages, I understand, are chiefly due to GARDEL. He has
given the example and the precept, and, through his guidance, the art
of dancing is become doubly captivating.

After having supplied most of the principal cities in Europe with
capital dancers, this theatre, far from being impoverished, is still
in possession of a numerous train of first-rate _artists_ of both
sexes in every style of dancing. The men are GARDEL, MILON, ST.
AMAND, DESHAIES, GOYON, BEAUPRE, BRANCHU, BEAULIEU, AUMER, LEON,
TAGLIONI, DUPORT, and VESTRIS.

It is unnecessary to speak of the talents of VESTRIS, as they are as
well known in London as in Paris. I shall therefore content myself
with remarking that he delights in exhibiting feats of agility; but
as his age increases, connoisseurs think that he declines a little.
Nevertheless, he is still, in reality, the first dancer at the opera.
It is said that his son, ARMAND VESTRIS, will, in time, be able to
supply his place; in the mean while, DUPORT bids fair to fill it, in
case the "_Dieu de la danse_" should retire; not to mention DESHAIES,
who has lately met with an accident which has disabled him for the
present; but who, when on the stage in the presence of Vestris, has
shewn that he could also astonish and delight the spectators. Without
having the boldness of his rival, he exhibits more certainty and
_a-plomb_. In the character of _Telemaque_, he appears with all the
grace of Apollo. If excellence in dancing be allowed to consist less
in the efforts of the dancer, than in the ease and gracefulness of
his attitudes, and the lightness and precision of his steps, DESHAIES
may he classed in the first rank of his profession.

In this exercise, as in every thing else, there is a just medium, and
this is more particularly observed by the principal female dancers.
The names of these are GARDEL, CLOTILDE, CHEVIGNY, PERIGNON, COLLOMB,
CHAMEROI,[1] SAULNIER, VESTRIS, DELISLE, MILLIERE, LOUISE, FELICITE,
DUPORT, TAGLIONI, ALINE, ETIENNE, JACOTOT, FLORINE, ADELE, to whom
may be added two most promising _debutantes_, LA NEUVILLE and
BIGOTINI, whose first appearance I witnessed.

Though Madame GARDEL, wife of the principal ballet-master, shines in
_demi-caractere_, her talents, in the different parts in which she is
placed, are above all panegyric. As NOVERRE has said somewhere of a
famous dancer, "she is always tender, always graceful, sometimes a
butterfly, sometimes a zephyr, at one moment inconstant, at another
faithful; always animated by a new sentiment, she represents with
voluptuousness all the shades of love." To sum up her merits, she is
really in her art the female Proteus of the lyric scene. Mademoiselle
CLOTILDE is a tall, elegant woman, who dances in the serious style.
All her movements, made with precision, exhibit the beautiful
proportion of her finely-modelled figure; but, owing to her stature,
she appears to most advantage in pantomime, particularly in the
character of _Calypso_ in the ballet of _Telemaque_. In the same
ballet, MILLIERE, in the part of _Eucharis_, displays her playful
graces and engaging mien. CHEVIGNY is full of expression in
pantomime, and dances in great perfection, notwithstanding her
_embonpoint_. PERIGNON and COLLOMB are superior in the comic style,
and all the others are not without some peculiar exellence.[2]

I should never finish, were I to attempt to particularize the merits
of all these fascinating women, who, as well as the men, have, of
late, alternately interchanged the characters they performed in the
ballets of action. Even those introduced occasionally in the fetes
given and received by the heroes in the different operas, present a
real contest, in which the first-rate dancers of both sexes exert
themselves to snatch the palm from their rivals. When a theatre
possesses such a richness, variety, and assemblage of talents in the
same art, it may boldly stylo itself the first in Europe. But I must
confess that an innovation has been introduced here which detracts
much from what has always been considered as fine dancing. I mean the
mania of _pirouettes_. This, however, seems less to be attributed to
a decided _penchant_ of the dancers than to that of a new public, not
yet familiarized to what constitutes true taste.

During a revolution, every thing changes, every thing assumes a new
face. What was entitled to please yesterday in times of tranquillity,
is to-day, during the jar of public opinion, and will be to-morrow
subject to all the variations of caprice. The marvellous and gigantic
usurp the place of the natural, and claim alone the right to
entertain. True it is that the dancers have found means to render
this new manner interesting, while they have enjoyed the sweets of
it. The pleasure of being applauded is so great, that it is no easy
matter to withstand the powerful allurement of the plaudits of a
numerous audience. Boileau has said, "_Aimez-vous la muscade? On en a
mis par tout_." The French dancers, following his example, have said,
"_Aimez-vous les pirouettes?_" The public have answered _oui_; and
_pirouettes_ are all the rage.

When a certain king of Bisnagar sneezes, the court, the town, the
provinces, all the subjects of his empire, in short, sneeze in
imitation of their monarch. Without departing from my subject, I
shall only observe that _pirouettes_, like this sneezing, have found
their way from the opera-stage into the circles of every class of
society in Paris. There lies the absurdity. The young Frenchmen have
been emulous to dance like dancers by profession; the women have had
the same ambition; and both men and women have, above all, been
desirous to shine like them in _pirouettes_. Thence most of the
dances, formerly practised in society, in which simple and natural
grace was combined with a certain facility and nobleness of
execution, have been entirely laid aside. It must be acknowledged,
that, among the dancers in private company, there are many, indeed,
who, by dint of imitation and study, have attained a great degree of
perfection. But I now perceive that people here no longer dance for
their amusement; they dance to gratify their vanity, and many a
person who has not practised some hours in the morning under the
tuition of his master, excuses himself in the evening, pretends to be
lame, and declines dancing.

The taste and elegance of the dresses of the opera-dancers, like
those of the heroes and heroines of the sock and buskin, leave
nothing to be wished for. In lieu of drawers, which all women,
without exception, were formerly obliged to wear on the stage[3],
those who dance have now substituted silk pantaloons, woven with
feet, in order to serve also as stockings. In some particular
characters, they wear these of flesh colour, and it is not then easy,
at first sight, to distinguish whether it be or be not the clothing
of nature.

The French opera having been long considered as the grand national
theatre, it has ever been the pride of the government, whether
monarchical or republican, to support it in a manner worthy of the
nation. In fact, the disbursements are so great, that it would be
impossible for the receipts to cover them, though the performances
are seldom suspended for more than two days in the week, and the
house is generally crowded. This theatre is managed by the
government, and on its account. The Minister of the Interior appoints
a commissioner to superintend its operations, and managers to conduct
them. During the old _regime_, the opera cost the crown annually from
one hundred and fifty to two hundred thousand livres. What the
extraordinary expenses of this house are, under the present
government, is not so easily ascertained; but, from the best
information that I have been able to procure, their amount is from
three to four hundred thousand francs a year. Here is a considerable
increase; but it must be remembered that the price of several
articles is now greatly augmented, if not doubled.

The receipt of the opera, on an average, used to be from twelve to
fifteen thousand livres a night; what it is at this day, is not
positively known. Formerly, the produce of the boxes, let by the
year, was such, that nine thousand livres were paid, in a manner,
before the doors were thrown open. That resource is almost void at
present; nevertheless, this house being more spacious than the old
one, the prices of admission higher, and the performance, perhaps,
more constantly attended, the money taken at the door cannot well be
less than it was formerly. It then cost much less than it does now to
bring out a new piece. Thirty or forty thousand livres were
sufficient for the production of the most magnificent opera; while
the disbursements to be made for _Tamerlan_ will, it is thought,
amount to upwards of eighty thousand francs. At this rate, the first
representation of the _Mysteres d'Isis_, of which so much has been
said, must have been attended with an expense of more than a hundred
thousand. Scandal whispers, that the managers of the opera are rather
partial to expensive pieces; but as they are accountable for their
conduct to the Minister of the Interior, I should presume that they
must act as honourable men.

The salaries are not considerable at this theatre. The first
performers have not more than twelve thousand francs a year,
exclusively of the _feux_, which is the sum given to each of them,
when they perform. This, I understand, does not exceed a louis a
night. Those who have a name, indemnify themselves by going, from
time to time, to play in the great commercial towns of the
departments, such as Bordeaux, Lyons, Marseilles, &c. where they
generally collect a rich harvest. It is said that VESTRIS has
received from the government a gratification to prevent him from
visiting the British metropolis; and it is also reported that DIDELOT
and LABORIE have made vain efforts to return to the Parisian opera;
but that the managers, faithful to their instructions, refuse to
readmit such of the old performers as have voluntarily quitted it.
What attaches performers to the opera-house is the _pension de
retraite._ They all eventually obtain it, even the chorus-singers.

The remuneration of authors, that is, of the poet and composer of the
music, is to each three hundred francs for every representation, when
the piece is not less than three acts. This is the most common
division. I know of no operas in one act; those in two are paid in
the above proportion.[4]

[Footnote 1: GARDEL has lately added another sprig of laurel to his
brow, by the production of a new pantomimical ballet, called _Daphnis
et Pandrose, ou la vengeance de l'amour_. He has borrowed the subject
from a story of Madame DE GENLIS, who took it from fable. Every
resource of his inexhaustible genius has been employed to give the
happiest effect to this charming work, to enumerate the beauties of
which is, by general report, beyond the powers of language. All the
first-rate dancers of both sexes are placed in the most advantageous
point of view throughout this ballet. Madame GARDEL performs in it
the part of Cupid, with all the charms, wiles, and graces which poets
ascribe to the roguish deity. The other characters are represented in
a manner no less interesting. In short, music, dancing, pantomime,
dress, decoration, every thing in this piece, concurs to stamp it as
one of the most wonderful productions of the kind ever exhibited to
the admiration of the public.]

[Footnote 2: In a preceding note, VESTRIS has been mentioned as the
reputed lover of Mademoiselle CHAMEROI, and from this instance of
illicit intercourse, it might, perhaps, be erroneously inferred that
most of the Parisian female opera-dancers had overleaped the pale of
virtue. Without pretending to enter the lists as the champion of
their character, though I admire their talents as warmly as any
amateur, truth induces me to observe that many of these ladies enjoy
an unblemished reputation. Madame VESTRIS, in particular, is
universally represented as a young and pretty woman, much attached to
her faithless husband, and, notwithstanding his improper example, a
constant observer of the most exemplary conduct.]

[Footnote 3: Many years ago, a Parisian actress, coming on the stage
in the part of _Merope_, in the tragedy of that name, her petticoats
somehow happened to catch in the side-scene, and, in her hasty
endeavours to disentangle them, she exhibited to the audience the
hind part of her person. In consequence of this accident, a _sentence
de police_ enjoined every woman, whether actress or dancer, not to
appear on the boards of any theatre, without drawers.]

[Footnote 4: The refusal made by the Rector of St. Roch to admit into
that church the corpse of Mademoiselle CHAMEROI, has informed us in
England of the loss which this theatre has sustained in that young
and accomplished dancer. She died, generally regretted, in
consequence of being delivered of a child of which VESTRIS considered
himself as the real father. However, M. DE MARKOFF, the Russian
ambassador at Paris, stood sponsor to the infant, and, according to
the scandalous chronicle, was not contented with being only a
spiritual father. The Parisian public have consoled themselves for
this loss by talking a great deal about the scene to which it gave
rise. It seems that the Rector was decidedly in the wrong, the
dancers of the opera never having been comprised in the papal
excommunication which involved players. The persons composing the
funeral procession were also in the wrong to go to St. Roch, since
the Rector had positively declared that the corpse of Mademoiselle
CHAMEROI should not enter the church.]



LETTER XLIII.

_Paris, January 1, 1802._

Fast locked in the arms of Morpheus, and not dreaming of what was to
happen, as Lord North said, when the king caused him to be awakened,
in the dead of the night, to deliver up the seals, so was I roused
this morning by a message from an amiable French lady of my
acquaintance, requesting me to send her some _bonbons_. "_Bonbons_!"
exclaimed I, "in the name of wonder, Rosalie, is your mistress so
childishly impatient as to send you trailing through the snow, on
purpose to remind me that I promised to replenish her
_bonbonniere_?"--"Not exactly so, Monsieur," replied the _femme de
chambre_, "Madame was willing to be the first to wish you a happy new
year."--"A new year!" said I, "by the republican calendar, I thought
that the new year began on the 1st of Vendemiaire."--"Very true,"
answered she; "but, in spite of new laws, people adhere to old
customs; wherefore we celebrate the first of January."--"As to
celebrating the first of January, _a la bonne heure_, Rosalie,"
rejoined I, "I have no sort of objection; but I wish you had adhered
to some of your other old customs, and, above all, to your old hours.
I was not in bed till past six o'clock this morning, and now, you
wake me at eight with your congratulations."--"Never mind, Monsieur,"
said she, "you will soon drop asleep again; but my mistress hopes
that you will not fail to make one of her party on the _Fete des
Rois_."--"Good heaven!" exclaimed I again, "what, is a
counterrevolution at hand, that the _Fete des Rois_ must also be
celebrated?"--"'Tis," interrupted Rosalie, "only for the pleasure of
drawing for king and queen."--"Tell Madame," added I, "that I will
accept her invitation."--Dismissing the _soubrette_ with this
assurance, at the same time not forgetting to present her with a new
year's gift, she at once revealed the secret of her early visit, by
hinting to me that, among intimate friends, it was customary to give
_etrennes_. This, in plain English, implies nothing more nor less
than that I must likewise make her mistress a present, on the
principle, I suppose, that _les petits cadeaux entretiennent
l'amitie_.

My reflection then turned on the instability of this people. After
establishing a new division of time, they return to the old one, and
celebrate, as formerly, the first of January. Now, it is evident that
the former accords better with the order of nature, and that autumn
was the first season which followed the creation. Why else should
apples of irresistible ripeness and beauty have presented themselves
to the eye of our first parents in the garden of Eden? This would not
have been the case, had the world commenced in winter.

Besides, a multitude of advantages would accrue to the French from an
adherence to the 1st of Vendemiaire, or 23d of September of the
Gregorian calendar, as the first day of the year. The weather, after
the autumnal equinox, is generally settled, in consequence of the air
having been purified by the pre-existing gales, the ordinary
forerunners of that period: and the Parisians would not be obliged to
brave the rain, the wind, the cold, the frost, the snow, &c. in going
to wish a happy new year to their fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts,
cousins, and other relations. For to all this are they now exposed,
unless they choose to ruin themselves in coach-hire. The consequence
is that they are wet, cold, and dirty for two or three successive
days, and are sure to suffer by a sore throat, rheumatism, or fever,
all which entail the expensive attendance of the faculty; whereas,
did they celebrate the 23d of September as new year's day, they
might, in a quiet, unassuming manner, pay all their visits on foot,
and, in that season, this exercise would neither be prejudicial to
their purse nor their health.

I do not immediately recollect whether I have spoken to you of the
long-expected account of the French expedition to Egypt, by DENON:
yet I ought not to have omitted to inform you that, upwards of two
months ago, I set down your name for a copy of this splendid work. It
will cost you 360 francs; but you will have one of the proof
impressions. I have seen a specimen of the letter-press, which is to
consist of a folio volume, printed by Didot. The plates, amounting to
upwards of one hundred and forty in number, are entirely engraved
from DENON'S original drawings, without any reduction or enlargement,
with the exception of that representing the Battle of the Pyramids,
the size of which has been increased at the express desire of
BONAPARTE. I have often amused myself on a morning in contemplating
these drawings; but the crowd of curious persons being generally
great, I determined to seize the opportunity of examining them more
at leisure to-day, when the French are entirely engaged in
interchanging the compliments of the season. I found DENON himself
diligently employed on some of the engravings; and so anxious is he
for the publication of the work, that he toils early and late to
forward its appearance.

Notwithstanding the anxiety he feels on that account, this estimable
artist takes a real pleasure in explaining the subject of his
drawings; and, by means of his obliging communications, I am now
become tolerably well acquainted with Egypt. What country, in fact,
has a better claim to fix attention than that which served as a
cradle to human knowledge, and the history of which goes back to the
first ages of the world; a country, where every thing seems to have
commenced? Laws, arts, sciences, and even fables, which derive their
origin from nature, whose attributes they immortalize, and which, at
a subsequent period, formed the ground-work of the ingenious fictions
of mythology.

What idea must we not conceive of the industry and civilization of a
people who erected those celebrated monuments, anterior to the annals
of history, to the accounts even of tradition, those pyramids which
have unalterably withstood all the ravages of time?

When we look back on the ancients, the Greeks and Romans almost
exclusively divide our attention. The former, it is true, carried
farther the love and the culture of the fine arts; while the latter
are more remarkable for the great traits of their character; though
both acquired that renown which mankind have so improperly attached
to the success of arms.

But, in allowing to Greece all the interest which she claims, in so
many respects, we cannot forget that she was originally peopled by
Egyptian colonies; that it was Egyptians who, in later times, carried
thither the knowledge of the arts, the most necessary and the most
indispensable to society; and that, at the epoch which preceded the
splendid days of Greece, it was also into Egypt that the sages went
to acquire that knowledge of a superior kind, which constituted their
glory, and rendered their country illustrious.

What keeps up a sort of rivalship between Greece and Egypt is that,
independently of the priority of knowledge, the former had the
eminent advantage of opening her arms to philosophy and the sciences,
which, forsaking their adoptive country, and not being able to
survive the loss of liberty, fled back to their natal soil, and
found, in the Museum of Alexandria, an asylum, which neither the
Lyceum, the Portico, nor the Academy, could longer afford them at
Athens. Thus, to the reign of the Ptolemies are we, unquestionably,
indebted for the preservation of the knowledge acquired by the
ancients.

Apropos, I forgot to mention to you that BERTHOLET, a Senator and
Member of the Institute, communicated to that society, in one of its
sittings last month, a letter from FOURIER, the geometrician, and
member of the late Institute of Egypt. This _savant_, in the
researches he made in Upper Egypt, discovered and delineated several
zodiacs, which, he says, fully confirm the theory of DUPUIS,
respecting the origin and antiquity of the figures of the zodiac. As
far back as the year 1781, DUPUIS published a memoir, since reprinted
in his large work, entitled _De l'Origine des Cultes_, in which he
presumes that the zodiac, such as it has been transmitted to us by
the Greeks, is of Egyptian origin, and that it goes back to fifteen
thousand years, at least, before the era of the French revolution.



LETTER XLIV.

_Paris, January 3, 1802._

An almost uninterrupted succession of wet weather has, of late,
precluded me from the regular enjoyment of a morning walk. But, with
the new year, we had a heavy fall of snow, which has since been
succeeded by a severe frost. I gladly availed myself of this
opportunity of taking exercise, and yesterday, after viewing the
skaiters in that part of the _Champs Elysees_ which had been
inundated, and is now frozen, I immediately proceeded to the

HOTEL DES INVALIDES.

This majestic edifice was projected by Henry IV, and executed, by
order of Lewis XIV, after the designs of BRUANT, who laid the
foundation on the 30th of November, 1671. It is composed of five
courts, surrounded by buildings. The middle court is as large as all
the other four.

A spacious esplanade planted with trees, an outer court surrounded by
a wall newly-built, form the view towards the river, and lead to the
principal facade, which is twelve hundred feet in extent. This facade
has, within these few years, been entirely polished anew: the details
of sculpture have, perhaps, gained by the operation; but the
architecture has certainly lost that gloomy tint which gave to this
building a manly and respectable character. In the middle of this
facade, in the arched part above the great gate, was a bas-relief of
Lewis XIV on horseback.

This gate leads to the great court, which is decorated by two rows of
arcades, the one above the other, forming, on the two stories,
uniform galleries which give light to the apartments of the
circumference. The windows, which serve to light the upper apartments
of the facade, are remarkable from their being placed in cuirasses,
as those of the great court are in trophies of arms.

From this court, you enter the church, now called the _Temple of
Mars_. It is ornamented with the Corinthian order, and has the form
of a Greek cross. The pulpit no longer exists. The altar, which was
magnificently decorated, is likewise destroyed.

The chapels, to the number of six, were each ornamented by a cupola
painted in fresco, and statues in marble by the greatest masters,
which, after being left for some time exposed to the injuries of the
air in the court looking towards the country, are at length deposited
in the MUSEUM OF FRENCH MONUMENTS.

To the arches of this temple are suspended the standards and colours
taken from the enemy. Two British flags only contribute to augment
the number. The oldest of these trophies have been removed from
_Notre-Dame_. When they were formerly displayed in that cathedral, a
general, who was constantly victorious, was called by the people the
_upholsterer of Notre-Dame_; an energetic appellation which spoke
home to the feelings. But, however calculated these emblems of
victory may be to foster heroism in the mind of youth, and rekindle
valour in the heart of old age, what a subject of reflection do they
not afford to the philanthropist! How can he, in fact, contemplate
these different flags, without regretting the torrents of blood which
they have cost his fellow-creatures?

In this _Temple of Mars_ is erected the monument of TURENNE, whose
body, after various removals, was conveyed hither, in great pomp, on
the 1st of Vendemiaire, year IX (23d of September, 1800) conformably
to a decree of the Consuls, and immediately deposited in the inside
of this tomb.

The present government of France seems to have taken the hint from
St. Foix, who expresses his astonishment that Lewis XIV never
conceived the idea of erecting, in the _Hotel des Invalides_,
mausolea, with the statues of the generals who had led with the
greatest glory the armies of the nation. "Where could they be more
honourably interred," says he, "than amidst those old soldiers, the
companions of their fatigues, who, like themselves, had lavished
their blood for their country?"[1]

At the age of sixty-four, TURENNE was killed by a cannon-ball, while
reconnoitring the enemy's batteries near the village of Salzbach in
Germany, on the 27th of July, 1675. No less esteemed for his virtues
as a man, than honoured for his talents as a general, he at last fell
a victim to his courage. His soldiers looked up to him as to a
father, and in his life-time always gave him that title. After his
death, when they saw the embarrassment in which it left the generals
who succeeded him in the command of the army: "_Let loose old
Piebald_," said they, "_he will guide us_."[2] The same ball which
(to borrow a line from Pope) laid

  "The _god-like_ TURENNE prostrate in the dust,"

likewise took off the arm of ST. HILAIRE, Lieutenant-general of
artillery: his son, who was beside him at the moment, uttered a cry
of grief. "_'Tis not me, my son, that you must bewail_," said ST.
HILAIRE; "_'tis that great man._"

The Marshal was as much lamented by the enemy as he was by his own
countrymen; and MONTECUCULLI, the general opposed to him, when he
learned the loss which France had sustained in the person of TURENNE,
exclaimed: "Then a man is dead who was an honour to human nature!"

The Germans, for several years, left untilled the field where he was
killed; and the inhabitants shewed it as a sacred spot. They
respected the old tree under which, he reposed a little time before
his death, and would not suffer it to be cut down. The tree perished
only, because soldiers of all nations carried away pieces of it out
of respect to his memory.

TURENNE had been interred in the abbey of St. Denis, and at the time
of the royal vaults being opened in 1793, by order of the National
Convention, the remains of that great captain were respected amid the
general destruction which ensued. From the eagerness of the workmen
to behold them, his tomb was the very first that was opened. When the
lid of the coffin was removed, the Marshal was found in such a state
of preservation that he was not at all disfigured: the features of
his face, far from being changed, were perfectly conformable to the
portraits and medallions of TURENNE in our possession.

This monument, now placed in the _Temple of Mars_, had been erected
to that warrior in the abbey of St. Denis, and was preserved through
the care of M. LENOIR; after being seen for five years in the MUSEUM
OF FRENCH MONUMENTS, of which he is the director, it was removed
hither by the before-mentioned decree of the Consuls. LE BRUN
furnished the designs from which it was executed. The group, composed
of TURENNE in the arms of Immortality, is by TUBY; the accessory
figures, the one representing Wisdom, and the other, Valour, are by
MARSY. The bas-relief in bronze in the middle of the cenotaph is
likewise by TURY, and represents TURENNE charging the enemy at the
battle of Turckheim, in 1675.

The dome forms a second church behind the large one, to which it
communicates. Its exterior, entirely covered with lead, is surrounded
by forty pillars of the Composite order, and ornamented with twelve
large gilt coats of mail, crowned with helmets, which serve as
skylights, and with a small lantern with pillars which support a
pyramid, surmounted by a large ball and a cross.

All the architecture of the dome, which is called the new church, is
from the design of MANSARD. Its elevation, from the ground-floor, is
three hundred feet; and its diameter, fifty. It has the character of
elegance. The beauty of its proportion, its decoration, and
especially all the parts which concur in forming the pyramid, render
it a master-piece of architecture. But nothing commands admiration
like the interior, though it may be said to be three-fourths damaged.
The twelve windows, by which it is lighted, but which the observer
below cannot perceive, are ornamented with coupled piasters, resting
on a continued pedestal. On the broad band, which was formerly
adorned with flower-de-luces, and at this day with emblems of
liberty, were the medallions of twelve of the most famous kings of
France: namely, Clovis, Dagobert, Childebert, Charlemagne, Lewis the
Debonair, Charles the Bald, Philip Augustus, St. Lewis, Lewis XII,
Henry IV, Lewis XIII, and Lewis XIV. The first arch, distributed into
twelve equal parts, presented the twelve apostles, painted in fresco
by JOUVENET. The second arch, painted by LA FOSSE, represented the
apotheosis of St. Lewis, offering to God his sword and crown. The
pavement, which alone has not suffered, is in compartments of
different marbles of great value.

The portal, which looks towards the country, is thirty toises in
extent. Of all the figures which decorated this facade, those of the
Four Virtues; namely, Justice, Temperance, Fortitude, and Prudence,
are the only ones that have been suffered to remain in their places.
They are by COYZEVOX.

The other objects most worthy of notice in this spacious, building,
which, together with its precincts, occupies seventeen _arpens_, are
the refectories and kitchens, which are very extensive. Formerly,
neither of these were kept in such high order as they are at present.
The tables of the private soldiers are now better supplied; sirloins
of beef and legs of mutton being no longer roasted for the officers
only. In the four refectories, where the soldiers dine, twelve in a
mess, they are regularly served with soup, bouilli, a plate of
vegetables, and a pint of unadulterated wine. When Peter the Great
visited this establishment, the Invalids happened to be at dinner,
the czar, on entering the first refectory, poured out a bumper of
wine, and drank it off in a military style to the health of the
veterans, whom he termed his comrades.

The halls are ornamented with paintings representing the conquests of
Lewis XIV. During the reign of terror the features of the _Grand
Monarque_, who made a conspicuous figure in these pictures, were
concealed by a coat of dark paint, which answered the purpose of a
mask. BONAPARTE has ordered this mask to be removed, so that the
ambitious monarch now reappears in all his former glory.

Whatever may be said in praise of establishments of this description,
for my part, I see nothing in them but the gratification of national
pride. The old soldiers, are, in a manner, without a comrade, though
living in the midst of their brother warriors. The good fellowship
which they have witnessed in camps no longer subsists. The danger of
battles, the weight of fatigues, and the participation of privations
and hardships, no longer form the tie of common interest, by which
they were once united. This, being dissolved, they seek in vain that
reciprocity of little kindnesses which they used to find in their own
regiments and armies. All hope of promotion or change being at an
end, their only consolation is to enjoy the present by indulging in
reveries concerning the past.

Instead of being doomed to end their days in this sort of stately
confinement, subject to restrictions which render life so dull and
monotonous, how different would these veterans feel, could they
retire to the bosom of their families and friends! Then, indeed,
would they dwell with delight on the battles and sieges in which they
had served, enumerating their many hair-breadth escapes, and
detailing the particulars of the fight in which they lost their
deficient leg or arm. After a pause, the sense of their country's
gratitude operating powerfully on their mind, would soothe every
painful recollection. Their auditors, impressed with admiration,
would listen in silence to the recital of the well-fought day, and,
roused by the call of national honour, cheerfully step forth to
emulate these mutilated heroes, provided they were sure of a _free_
asylum, when reduced to their helpless condition.

Whether I enter the _Hotel des Invalides_, or _Chelsea Hospital_,
such are the reflections which never fail to occur to me, when I
visit either of those establishments, and contemplate the dejected
countenances of the maimed beings that inhabit them.

Experience tells us that men dislike enjoyments, regularly prepared
for them, if under restraint, and prefer smaller gratifications, of
which they can partake without control. Policy, as well as prudence,
therefore dictates a departure from the present system of providing
for those maimed in fighting the battles of their nation.

In a word, I am fully persuaded that the sums expended in the
purchase of the ground and construction of this magnificent edifice,
together with the charges of maintaining the establishment, would
have formed a fund that might have enabled the government to allow
every wounded soldier a competent pension for life, in proportion to
the length of his services, and the injuries which he might have
suffered in defence of his country.

From the _Hotel des Invalides_ are avenues, planted with trees,
which, on one side, communicate to the _New Boulevards_, and, on the
other, to the

CHAMP DE MARS.

This extensive inclosure was originally intended for the exercises of
the _Ecole Militaire_, in front of which it is situated, as you will
perceive by referring to the Plan of Paris. Its form is a
parallelogram of four hundred and fifty toises in length by one
hundred and fifty in breadth. It is surrounded by ditches, faced with
masonry, which are bordered on each side by a double row of trees,
extending from the facade of the _ci-devant Ecole Militaire_ to the
banks of the Seine. That building, I shall observe _en passant_, was
founded in 1751, by Lewis XV, for the military education of five
hundred young gentlemen, destitute of fortune, whose fathers had died
in the service. It stands on the south side of the _Champ de Mars_,
and serves at present as barracks for the horse-grenadiers of the
consular guard. On the third story of one of the wings is a national
observatory, which was constructed at the instigation of Lalande, the
celebrated astronomer.

The various scenes of which the _Champ de Mars_ has successively been
the theatre, are too interesting to be passed over in silence.
Indeed, they exhibit the character of the nation in such striking
colours, that to omit them, would be like omitting some of the
principal features in the drawing of a portrait. Often have they been
mentioned, it is true; but subsequent events have so weakened the
remembrance of them, that they now present themselves to the mind
more like dreams than realities. However, I shall touch on the most
remarkable only.

In 1790, a spacious arena, encompassed by a mound of earth, divided
into seats so as to accommodate three hundred thousand spectators,
was formed within this inclosure. To complete it speedily for the
ceremony of the first federation, required immense labour. The slow
progress of twenty-five thousand hired workmen could not keep pace
with the ardent wishes of the friends of liberty. But those were the
days of enthusiasm: concord and harmony then subsisted among the
great majority of the French people. What other sentiments, in fact,
could daily bring together, in the _Champ de Mars_, two hundred and
fifty thousand persons of every class, without distinction of age or
sex, to work at the necessary excavation? Thus, at the end of a week,
the amphitheatre was completed as if by enchantment.

Never, perhaps, since the time of the Spartans, was seen among any
people such an example of cordial union. It would be difficult for
the warmest imagination to conceive a picture so varied, so original,
so animated. Every corporation, every society was ambitious of the
honour of assisting in the erection of the altar of the country: all
wished to contribute, by individual labour, to the arrangement of the
place where they were to swear to defend the constitution. Not a man,
woman, or child remained an idle spectator. On this occasion, the
aged seemed to have recovered the vigour of youth, and women and
children to have acquired the strength of manhood. In a word, men of
all trades and professions were confounded, and cheerfully handled
the pickaxe and shovel: delicate females, sprucely dressed, were seen
here and there wheeling along barrows filled with earth; while long
strings of stout fellows dragged heavy loads in carts and waggons. As
the electric matter runs along the several links of an extensive
chain, so patriotism seemed to have electrified this whole mass of
people. The shock was universal, and every heart vibrated in unison.

The general good order which prevailed among this vast assemblage,
composed indiscriminately of persons of every rank and condition, was
truly surprising. No sort of improper discourse, no dispute of any
kind occurred. But what is still more singular and more worthy of
remark is, that the mutual confidence shewn by so many people,
strangers to each other, was in no one instance abused. Those who
threw off their coats and waistcoats, leaving them to the fate of
chance, during the time they were at work elsewhere, on their return
to the same spot found them untouched. Hence, as Paris is known to
abound with _filoux_, it may be inferred that the _amor patriae_ had
deadened in them the impulse of their ordinary vocation.

Franklin, when promoting the emancipation of America, during his
residence in Paris, probably did not foresee that the French would
soon borrow his favourite expression, and that it would become the
burden of a popular air. Yet so it happened; and even Lewis XVI
himself participated in the patriotic labours of the _Champ de Mars_,
while different bands of military music made the whole inclosure
resound with _ca ira_.

To these exhilarating scenes succeeded others of the most opposite
nature. Hither the guillotine was transported for the execution of
the greatest astronomer of the age, and this with no other view than
to prolong his punishment. Bailly, as every one knows, was the first
mayor of Paris after the revolution. Launched into the vortex of
politics, he became involved in the proscriptions which ensued during
the reign of terror, and was dragged from prison to the _Champ de
Mars_, where, though exposed to the most trying insults, he died,
like a philosopher, with Socratic calmness.

In no one of the numerous victims of the revolution was the
instability of popular favour more fully exemplified than in Bailly.
In this _Champ de Mars_, where he had published martial law in
consequence of a decree of the Convention, in the very place where he
had been directed by the representatives of the people to repel the
factions, he expired under the guillotine, loaded with the execration
of that same people of whom he had been the most venerated idol.

Since those sanguinary times, the _Champ de Mars_ has chiefly been
the site chosen for the celebration of national fetes, which, within
these few years, have assumed a character more distinguished than any
ever seen under the old _regime_. These modern Olympics consist of
chariot-races and wrestling, horse and foot races, ascensions of
balloons, carrying three or four persons, descents from them by means
of a parachute, mock-fights and aquatic tilting. After the sports of
the day, come splendid illuminations, grand fire-works, pantomimes
represented by two or three hundred performers, and concerts, which,
aided by splendid decorations, are not deficient in point of effect:
the evening concludes with dancing.

During the existence of the directorial government, the number of
national fetes had been considerably increased by the celebration of
party triumphs. They are at present reduced to the two great epochs
of the revolution, the taking of the Bastille on the 14th of July,
1789, and the foundation of the Republic on the 23d of September,
1792. On the anniversary of those days, the variety of the
exhibitions always attracted an immense concourse. The whole of this
mound, whose greatest diameter is upwards of eight hundred yards, was
then covered with spectators; but were the _Champ de Mars_ now used
on such occasions, they would be compelled to stand, there being no
longer any seats for their accommodation.

The subject of national fetes has, in this country, employed many
pens, and excited much discussion. Some say that they might be
rendered more interesting from the general arrangement; while others
affirm that they might be made to harmonize more with the affections
and habits of the people. In truth, this modern imitation of the
Greek festivals has fallen far short of those animating,
mirth-inspiring scenes, so ably described by the learned author of
Anacharsis, where, to use his own words, "every heart, eagerly bent
on pleasure, endeavoured to expand itself in a thousand different
ways, and communicated to others the impression which rendered it
happy." Whatever exertions have hitherto been made to augment the
splendour of these days of festivity, it seems not to admit of a
doubt that they are still susceptible of great improvement. If the
French have not the wine of _Naxos_, their goblets may at least
sparkle with _vin de Surenne_; the _Champs Elysees_ may supply the
place of the shady bowers of _Delos_; and, in lieu of the name of the
ill-fated NICIAS, the first promoter of the sports formerly
celebrated in that once-happy island, the air may be made to ring
with the name of the more fortunate BONAPARTE.

[Footnote 1: _Essais historiques sur Paris_.]

[Footnote 2: This was the name given by the soldiers to the Marshal's
favourite charger.]



LETTER XLV.

_Paris, January 6, 1802._

In speaking of the interior of the _Louvre_, in one of my former
letters, I think I mentioned the various learned and scientific
societies, which, under the name of Academies, formerly held their
sittings in that palace. For the sake of facilitating a comparison
between the past and the present, it may be necessary to state the
professed object of those different institutions.

_French Academy_. The preservation of the purity of the French
language, its embellishment and augmentation.

_Academy of Sciences_. The progress of the sciences, the
encouragement of researches and discoveries, as well in physics,
geometry, and astronomy, as in those sciences which are applicable to
the daily wants of society.

_Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres_. The composition of
inscriptions, of the subjects of medals, and their mottos, the
research of the manners, habits, customs, and monuments of antiquity,
as well as all literature relating to history.

_Academy of Painting and Sculpture_.
_Academy of Architecture_.
The titles of these are a sufficient explanation.

All these academies were founded by Lewis XIV, at the instigation of
his minister Colbert; with the exception of the French Academy, which
owed its origin to Cardinal Richelieu. This was a misfortune for that
society; for custom had established it as a law that every new
member, on the day of his reception, should not only pronounce a
panegyric on him whom he succeeded, but also on the founder of the
institution. It certainly was not very philosophical for men of
enlightened understanding, and possessing even a common portion of
sensibility, to make an eulogium on a minister so cruel, a man of a
spirit so diabolically vindictive, that he even punished the innocent
to revenge himself on the guilty. De Thou, the celebrated author of
the _History of his own time_, had told some truths not very
favourable to the memory of the Cardinal's great uncle. In
consequence, the implacable minister, under false pretences, caused
the philosophic historian's eldest son to be condemned and
decapitated, saying: "De Thou, the father, has put my name into his
history, I will put the son into mine."

It is well known, from their memoirs, that these academies included
among their members men of eminent talents. The Academy of Sciences,
in particular, could boast of several first-rate geniuses in the
different branches which they respectively cultivated, and the
unremitting labours of some of them have, no doubt, greatly
contributed to enlarge the sphere of human knowledge. During the
early part of the revolution, all these monarchical institutions were
overthrown, and on their ruins rose the

NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES.[1]

This establishment was formed, agreeably to a decree of the National
Assembly passed on the 3d of Brumaire, year IV (25th of October,
1796). By that decree, it appears that the Institute belongs to the
whole Republic, though its point of union is fixed in Paris. Its
object is to extend the limits of the arts and sciences in general,
by an uninterrupted series of researches, by the publication of
discoveries, by a correspondence with the learned societies of
foreign countries, and by such scientific and literary labours as
tend to general utility and the glory of the Republic.

It is composed of one hundred and forty-four members, resident in
Paris, and of an equal number scattered over the departments. The
number of its foreign associates is twenty-four. It is divided into
three classes, and each class into several sections, namely:

Mathematical and Physical Sciences.
Moral and Political Sciences.
Literature and the Fine Arts.
The Mathematical Class is divided into ten sections; each of which
consists of six members. Of this class, there are sixty members in
Paris, and as many in the departments, where they are divided, in the
same manner, into ten sections, each of six members.

The first section comprehends Mathematics.
The second, Mechanical Arts.
The third, Astronomy.
The fourth, Experimental Physics.
The fifth, Chemistry.
The sixth, Natural History and Mineralogy.
The seventh, Botany and vegetable Physics.
The eighth, Anatomy and Zoology.
The ninth, Medicine and Surgery.
The tenth, Rural Economy and the Veterinary Art.

The Moral and Political Class is divided into six sections, each
consisting of six members, making in all thirty-six members in Paris,
and an equal number in the departments.

The first section comprises the Analysis of Sensations and Ideas.
The second, Morals.
The third, Social Science and Legislation.
The fourth, Political Economy.
The fifth, History.
The sixth, Geography.

The Class of Literature and Fine Arts is divided into eight sections,
each of six members, forty-eight of whom reside in Paris, and as many
in the departments.

The first section includes Grammar.
The second, Ancient Languages.
The third, Poetry.
The fourth, Antiquities and Monuments.
The fifth, Painting.
The sixth, Sculpture.
The seventh, Architecture.
The eighth, Music and Declamation.

Twice in every decade, each class holds a meeting: that of the first
class takes place on the first and sixth days; that of the second, on
the second and seventh days; and that of the third, on the third and
eighth days. Every six months each class elects its president and two
secretaries, who continue in office during that interval.

On the fifth day of the first decade of every month is held a general
meeting of the three classes, the purpose of which is to deliberate
on affairs, relating to the general interests of the Institute. The
chair is then taken by the oldest of the three presidents, who, at
these meetings, presides over the whole society.

The National Institute has four public quarterly meetings, on the
15th of the months of Vendemiaire, Nivose, Germinal, and Messidor.
Each class annually proposes two prize questions, and in the general
meetings, the answers are made public, and the premiums distributed.
The united sections of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture nominate
the pupils who are to visit Rome, and reside there in the national
palace, at the expense of the Republic, in order to study the Fine
Arts. Conformably to the decree by which the Institute was organised,
six of its members were to travel at the public charge, with a view
of collecting information, and acquiring experience in the different
sciences; and twenty young men too were to visit foreign countries
for the purpose of studying rural economy: but the expenses of the
war and other matters have occasioned such a scarcity of money as,
hitherto, to impede these undertakings.

The apartments of the Institute are on the first floor of the
_Louvre_, or, as it is now styled, the _Palais Nationial des Sciences
et des Arts_. These apartments, which were once inhabited by Henry
IV, are situated on the west side of that building. Before you arrive
at the hall of the Institute, you pass through a handsome
antichamber, in which are the statues of Moliere, Racine, Corneille,
La Fontaine, and Montesquieu. This hall, which is oblong and
spacious, formerly served for the meetings of the Academy of
Sciences. Its sides are adorned with colonnades, and the ceiling is
richly painted and decorated. In the intercolumniations are fourteen
marble statues (seven on each side) of some of the most celebrated
men that France has produced: namely, Conde, Tourville, Descartes,
Bayard, Sully, Turenne, Daguessau, Luxembourg, L'Hopital, Bossuet,
Duquesne, Catinat, Vauban, and Fenelon. Parallel to the walls, tables
are set, covered with green cloth, at which the members take their
places.

At the upper end of the hall is the chair of the President, and on
each side below him are seated the two Secretaries. A little on one
side again is the tribune, from which the members who speak address
the assembly, after having asked leave of the President, who never
quits the chair during the whole meeting. The space appropriated to
the members is inclosed by a railing, between which and the walls,
the hall is surrounded by benches for the spectators, among whom
there are generally many of the fair sex.

The library of the Institute consists of three spacious apartments,
which are said to contain about sixteen thousand volumes. On one side
of the hall is an apartment, destined for the communications of
correspondents. There is also an apartment for the secretary and his
deputies, and a large room containing a collection of machines and
models, (among which are several of shipping), as well as every
apparatus necessary for chemical and physical experiments.

Although I have several times attended the private meetings of the
three classes, I have thought that the printed accounts of their
proceedings, which I subjoin, would be more satisfactory than a hasty
sketch from my pen. However, as I promised to describe to you one of
the public sittings of the Institute, I shall now inform you of what
passed at that held yesterday, the 15th of Nivose, year X, (5th of
January, 1802), at which I was present.

On this occasion, BIGOT-PREAMENEU, one of the members of the class of
Moral and Political Sciences, was the President. The sitting was
opened by proclaiming the nomination of three foreign associates,
elected by the Institute in its general sitting of the 5th of Nivose;
namely, Mr. JEFFERSON, Sir JOSEPH BANKS, and HAYDN, the celebrated
musical composer. A prize was then awarded to Citizen Framery, a
literary character residing in Paris, for having solved the following
question proposed by the class of Literature and Fine Arts. "To
analyze the relations existing between music and declamation, and
determine the means of applying declamation to music, without
detracting from the charms of melody."

DELAMBRE read an account of the life and works of Cousin.

DEGERANDO, an account of the education which the young savage of
Aveyron receives from Itard, physician to the Institution of the Deaf
and Dumb.

PRONY, the result of observations made with a French instrument and
an English one, for the purpose of determining the relation between
the French metre and the English foot.

Next were heard notes, by CAMUS, on the public exhibitions of the
productions of French Industry, which took place in the years VI and
IX of the Republic.

Then, the report of the restoration of the famous picture known by
the name of the _Madonna di Foligno_, which I have already
communicated to you.

BUACHE, the celebrated geographer, read some observations on the
ancient map of the Romans, commonly called Peutinger's map, as well
as on the geography of the anonymous writer of Ravenna. The sitting
was terminated by an account of the life and works of Dumoustier,
read by COLIN D'HARLEVILLE.

The members of the Institute have a full-dress and a half-dress. The
former consists of a suit of black, embroidered in dark green silk,
with a cocked hat. The latter is the same, but the embroidery is
confined to the collar and cuffs of the coat, which is trimmed with a
cord edging,

P.S. Yesterday evening was married Mademoiselle Beauharnois,
daughter-in-law of the First Consul, to Louis Bonaparte, one of his
younger brothers.

[Footnote 1: At the end of this volume will be found the new
organization of the Institute, conformably to a decree of the
government, dated the 3d of Pluviose, year XI.]



LETTER XLVI.

_Paris, January 7, 1802._

Knowing you to be an amateur of Italian music, I am persuaded that
you will wish to be made acquainted with the theatre where you may
enjoy it in full perfection. It is distinguished by the appellation
of

OPERA BUFFA.

This establishment is not new in the French metropolis. In 1788,
Paris was in possession of an excellent company of Italian comedians,
who then performed in the _Theatre de Monsieur_, in the palace of the
_Tuileries_, which is now converted into a hall for the sittings of
the Council of State. The success of this company had a rapid
influence on the taste of the discerning part of the French public.
This was the less extraordinary as, perhaps, no Italian sovereign had
ever assembled one composed of so many capital performers. In Italy,
there are seldom more than two of that degree of merit in a company;
the rest are not attended to, because they are not worth the trouble:
but here every department was complete, and filled by persons
deservedly enjoying a high reputation in their own country; such as
MANDINI, RAFFANELLI, SIMONI, MENGOZZI, VIGANONI, ROVEDINO, and
Signoras MORICHELLI and BALETTI.

The events of 1792 banished from Paris this admired assemblage. A new
company of Italian comedians has been formed here within these few
months: they at first occupied a charming little theatre constructed
for the use of a society, called _La Loge Olympique_; but are lately
removed to the _Theatre Favart_, on the Boulevard. Before the
revolution, this was called _le Theatre Italien_. The facade is
decorated with eight very large Ionic pillars. The house is of an
oval form, and the interior distribution deserving of praise, in as
much as it is far more commodious than that of any other theatre in
Paris. The audience here too is generally of a more select
description. Among the female amateurs, Madame Tallien is one of its
most constant visiters, and, in point of grace and beauty, one of its
greatest ornaments.

At the head of this new company, may be placed RAFFANELLI, the same
whom I have just mentioned. He is a consummate comedian, and more to
be commended in that point of view than as a singer. RAFFANELLI has a
countenance to which he gives any cast he pleases: his features, from
their wonderful pliability, receive every impression: his eye is
quick; his delivery, natural and correct; and his action, easy.
Sometimes he carries his buffooneries too far, merely to excite
laughter; but as he never fails in his object, this defect may be
overlooked. His best characters are _Taddeo_ in _Il Re Theodora_, _il
Governatore_ in _La Molinara_, the Father in _Furberia e Puntiglio_,
and the Deaf Man in _Il Matrimonio Secreto_. It is necessary to see
him in these different operas to form a just idea of the truth and
humour with which he represents them. Although he is but an
indifferent singer, his method is good, and he seizes the spirit of
the composer with perfect discrimination. In _morceaux d'ensemble_,
he is quite at home, and when he dialogues with the orchestra, he
shews much energy and feeling. Independently of these gifts, Nature
has granted to RAFFANELLI another most valuable privilege. She seems
to have exempted him from the impression of time. In 1788 and 89, I
saw him frequently, both on and off the stage; after a lapse of
upwards of twelve years, he appears again to my eyes exactly the same
man. I cannot perceive in him the smallest change.

The tenor of the new company is LAZZARINI. His method too is very
good; he sings with taste, expression, and feeling; but his voice is
extremely weak: his powers appear exhausted; and it is only by dint
of painful efforts that he succeeds in giving to his singing those
embellishments which his taste suggests, but which lose their grace
and charm when they are laboured. In short, LAZZARINI communicates to
the audience an unpleasant sensation in proving that he has real
talents.

Neither the same reproaches nor the same praises can be bestowed on
PARLAMAGNI. He is a good counter-tenor, but has a harshness in the
high tones, which he does not always reach with perfect justness. He
is also deficient in ease and grace. PARLAMAGNI, however, having an
advantageous person, and the air of a Frenchman, is a great favourite
with the Parisian _dilettanti_. He is a tolerably good comedian, and
in some scenes of buffoonery, his acting is natural, and his manner
free and unaffected.

The _prima donna_ of the Italian company is Signora STRINA-SACCHI.
She possesses a fine voice, and no small share of taste, joined to
great confidence and a perfect acquaintance with the stage. Sometimes
she is rather apt to fatigue the ear by sounds too shrill, and thus
breaks the charm produced by her singing. As for her acting, it is as
extraordinary as can well be imagined; for her vivacity knows no
bounds; and her passion, no restraint. She appears to conceive
justly, to feel very warmly, and she plays in the same manner. In
her, Nature commands every thing; Art, nothing. The parts in which
she shines most, are _La Molinara_ and _Gianina_; in these, she
literally follows the impulse given her by her situation, without
concerning herself in the least, whether it is _secundum artem_; but
certain that it is natural and conformable to the character and
habits of the personage she represents. _Anima in voce_ is the
characteristic of her singing: the same epithet may be applied to her
recitative and her acting: in these she displays no less spirit and
animation.

After Signora SACCHI, comes Signora PARLAMAGNI. She is a young, and
rather pretty woman, not unlike a French actress in her manner. Her
voice is free and clear, and her method by no means to be disdained.
She wants habit and confidence. This is evident in her performance of
a part new to her; for it is only after a few representations that
she feels herself at her ease. Then the public appreciate her powers,
which she exhibits to advantage; and her exertions are rewarded by
reiterated marks of their satisfaction.

Unfortunately it is the nature of an Italian opera-house to have its
shelf poorly furnished. It cannot, however, be denied that the
managers of the _Opera Buffa_ take every pains to vary and increase
their stock. The following are the pieces which I have seen at this
theatre.

_Furberia e Puntiglio_, which is a second-hand imitation of GOLDONI.
The music, by Signor MARCELLO DI CAPUA, is agreeable, particularly a
quartetto and a cavatina. RAFFANELLI shines in this piece as a
first-rate actor.

_Il Matrimonio Secreto_, the chef-d'oeuvre of CIMAROSA, and of its
kind, perhaps, the most charming opera extant. Throughout it, the
composer has lavished beauties; there is not to be found in it an air
of inferior merit, or which, of itself alone, would not sustain the
reputation of a piece. What then can be said of a work in which they
are all united? Nothing can surpass the variety, spirit, grace, and
originality of the duos, terzettos, quartettos, &c. with which this
opera abounds. CIMAROSA has here combined the strength of German
harmony with the grace which constitutes the charm of Italian melody.
He is particularly famous for the brilliancy of his ideas, the
fecundity of his genius, the richness of his style, and, above all,
for the finish of his pictures.

The certain effect of such a production is to eclipse every thing put
in competition with it. This effect is particularly conspicuous at
the representation of other pieces, the music of which is by the same
composer.

_Gianina e Bernadone_, another of CIMAROSA'S productions, makes less
impression, though it is in the graceful style, what _Il Matrimonio
Secreto_ is in the serio-comic.

_La Molinara_, however, upholds the reputation of that celebrated
composer, PAESIELLO. This opera requires no eulogium. Selections from
it are daily repeated in the public and private concerts in Paris.
_Il Matrimonio Secreto_ is a masterpiece of spirit and originality,
while _La Molinara_ is a model of grace, melody, and simplicity.

To the great regret of the lovers of Italian music, CIMAROSA died not
long since, just as he was preparing to visit Paris. But his fame
will long survive, as his works bear the stamp of true genius,
combined with taste and judgment. His _Italiana in Londra_ is just
announced for representation.

_Il Matrimonio Inaspettato_, a composition of PAESIELLO, is likewise
in rehearsal, as well as _Le Nozze di Dorina_, by SARTI, and _La
Vilanella Rapita_, by BIANCHI. MOZART too will soon enter the lists;
his _Dom Giovanni_ is to be speedily brought forward.

The orchestra of the _Opera Buffa_, though far from numerous, is
extremely well-composed. It accompanies the singers with an
_ensemble_, a grace, and precision deserving of the highest encomium.
BRUNI, a distinguished Italian composer, is the leader of the band,
and PARENTI, a professor, known also by several admired productions,
presides at the piano-forte.

NEUVILLE, the manager of this theatre, is gone to Italy for the
purpose of completing the company by the addition of some eminent
performers.[1] In its present state, the _Opera Buffa_ maintains its
ground. It is thought that the French government will assist it in
case of necessity, and even make it a national establishment; a
commissary or agent having been appointed to superintend its
proceedings.

[Footnote 1: The _Opera Buffa_, the constant object of the jealousy
of the other lyric theatres, because it constitutes the delight of
real amateurs of music, has, during the year 1802, acquired several
new performers. Two of these only, Madame BOLLA and MARTINELLI,
deserve particular mention. Madame BOLLA is a good figure on the
stage, and though her features are not regular, yet they are
susceptible of the most varied expression. Her voice, which is a
species of feminine _tenore_, astonishes by the purity and firmness
of its grave tones; while her brilliant and sure method easily
conceals its small extent in the higher notes. MARTINELLI is a
species of counter-tenor. His voice has already lost much of its
strength, and has not that clearness which serves as an excuse for
every thing; but connoisseurs find that he takes care to calculate
its effects so as to make amends, by the art of transitions, for that
firmness in which it is deficient. He is much applauded in the
_cantabile_, which he sings with uncommon precision, and he
particularly shines in the counter-parts which charm in the Italian
_finales_. As an actor, MARTINELLI, though inferior to RAFFANELLI, is
also remarkable. His manner is easy and natural, and his countenance
capable of assuming the most comic expression.]



LETTER XLVII.

_Paris, January 9, 1802._

The exaggerated accounts of the interior state of France which have
reached us, through various channels, during the late obstinate
struggle, have diffused so many contradictions, that it is by no
means surprising we still continue so ill-informed in England on many
points most intimately connected with the morals of the French
nation. Respecting none of these, have we been more essentially
mistaken than the

PRESENT STATE OF PUBLIC WORSHIP.

I am given to understand, from unquestionable authority, that there
are at this moment, and have been for the last four years, no less
than from thirty-five to forty thousand churches where divine service
has been regularly performed throughout the different departments of
the Republic. It is therefore a gross error to suppose that the
christian religion was extinguished in France. The recent
arrangements made between the French government and the See of Rome
will consolidate that religion, which was, in a great measure,
re-established long before his Holiness occupied the papal chair. I
shall illustrate this truth by a summary of the proceedings of the
constitutional clergy.

The last general assembly of the clergy of France, held in 1789, the
account of which has never been printed, already presented facts
which announced that the necessity of reforming abuses was felt, and
the epoch when that reform would take place was foreseen. In this
assembly several bishops spoke with much force on the subject.

The disastrous state of the finances, brought about by the shameful
dilapidations of the court, occasioned a deficit which it was
necessary to make good. This consideration, joined to the spirit of
cupidity, jealous of the estates of the clergy, immediately caused
every eye to turn towards that mortmain property, in order to employ
it in the liquidation of the national debt.

In the _Moniteur_, and other journals of the time, may be seen what
successive steps gradually led to the abolition of tythes, and the
decision which placed the estates of the clergy at the disposal of
the nation.

The civil constitution of the clergy was a severe check given to the
many existing abuses. It really brought back the Gallican church to
the discipline of the first ages. It snatched from the Pope the power
of giving the canonical institution to bishops. Those who have
thought proper to tax with novelty this constitution, have only to
look into history. They will see that, during twelve hundred years,
bishops received the canonical institution from the metropolitans,
and not from the Pope. Thus to tax with intrusion the constitutional
bishops, and condemn them because they have received that institution
from the metropolitans, is to condemn the first twelve centuries of
christianity.

This civil constitution served as a pretext to the dignified clergy,
irritated at the loss of their estates, for concerting a combined
resistance to the new laws, in the hope that this resistance would
lead to a subversion which would restore to them their riches. Thence
the refusal of the oath "to be faithful to the nation, to the law,
and to the king, to guide faithfully the flock intrusted to their
care, and to maintain with all their power the constitution decreed
by the assembly, and sanctioned by the king." Thence the line of
division between the clergy who had taken the oath and those who had
not.

The Constituent Assembly, who had decreed the above oath, declared,
that the refusal of giving this pledge of fidelity should be
considered as a voluntary resignation. The royal sanction had
rendered the above decree a law of the State. Almost the whole of the
bishops, a great number of rectors, and other ecclesiastics, refused
to take this oath, already taken by several among them who were
deputies to the assembly.

They were, in consequence, declared to have resigned; and measures
were taken for supplying their place. The people proceeded to effect
this by electors authorized by law. A respectable number of
ecclesiastics, who had already submitted to the law, accepted the
elections. These priests thought that obedience to the national
authority which respected and protected religion, was a catholic
dogma. What resistance could be made to legitimate power, which
neither attacked the dogma, nor morality, nor the interior and
essential discipline of the church? It was, say they, resisting God
himself. They thought that the pastor was chosen, and sent solely for
the care of the flock intrusted to him; that, when difficult
circumstances, flight, for instance, voluntary or forced, the
prohibition from all functions, pronounced by the civil power,
rendered the holy ministry impossible, or that the pastor could not
exericise it, without declaring himself in open insurrection, the
pretended unremoveable rights then ceased with the sacred duties
which they could not discharge, without being accused of rebellion.

The dissentient bishops drew many priests into their party. Most of
them spread themselves over Europe, where they calumniated at their
ease the patriotic clergy. Those of their adherents who had remained
in the interior of this country, kindled a civil war, tormented
people's consciences, and disturbed the peace of families, &c. This
conduct, which engendered the horrible scenes in La Vendee, provoked
repressive measures, emanated from legislative authority.

Enemies without and within, say the constitutional clergy, wished to
create a disgust to liberty, by substituting to it licentiousness.
And, indeed, the partisans of the dissentient clergy were seen to
coalesce with the unbelievers, in order to produce the sacrilegious
disorders which broke out every where in the year 1793.

The clergy who had taken the oath had organized the dioceses; the
bishops, in general, had bestowed great pains in spreading in every
parish the word of the gospel; for they preached themselves, and this
was more than was done by their predecessors, who, engaged only in
spending, frequently in a shameful manner, immense revenues, seldom
or never visited their dioceses. The constitutional clergy followed a
plan more conformable to the gospel, which gained them the affection
of the well-disposed part of the nation.

These priests were of opinion that the storm which threatened
religion, required imperiously the immediate presence of the pastor,
and that, in the day of battle, it was necessary to be in person at
the breach. They were of opinion that the omission or impossibility
of fulfilling minute and empty formalities, imposed by a Concordat,
rejected from the beginning by all the public bodies and the church
of France, and annihilated at the moment by the will of the
representatives of the nation, sanctioned by royal authority, could
not exempt them from accepting holy functions presented by all the
constituted authorities, and on which evidently depended the
preservation of religion, the salvation of the faithful, and the
peace of the State.

But, when persecution manifested itself, the clergy who had taken the
oath, became equally the victims of persecuting rage. Some failed in
this conjuncture; but the greater number remained intrepid in their
principles. Accordingly several constitutional bishops and priests
were dragged to the scaffold. If, on the one hand, the dastardly
GOBEL was guillotined, the same fate attended the respectable
EXPILLY, bishop of Quimper, AMOURETTE, bishop of Lyons, and GOUTTES,
bishop of Autun, &c.

The dissentient clergy reproach some constitutional priests with
having married, and even with having apostatized; but they say not
that, among the dissentient, there are some who; have done the same.
If the number of the latter is smaller, it is because the greater
part of them were out of France; but what would they have done, if,
like the constitutional clergy, they had either had the axe suspended
over their head, or the guillotine accompanying all their steps?

In England, where the French priests were not thus exposed, there are
some who have likewise married, and even some who have apostatized.

It is well known that, amidst the terrors of impiety, GREGOIRE,
bishop of Blois, declared that he braved them, and remained attached
to his principles and duties, as a christian and bishop. He firmly
believed that, in doing so, he was pronouncing his sentence of death,
and, for eighteen months, he was in expectation of ascending the
scaffold. The same courage animated the majority of the
constitutional bishops and priests. They exercised secretly their
ministry, and consoled the faithful. As soon as the rage for
persecution began to abate, GREGOIRE and some other bishops, who had
kept up a private correspondence with the clergy of various dioceses
for the purpose of encouraging them, concerted together in order to
reorganize worship. In Nivose year III (January 1795), GREGOIRE
demanded this liberty of worship of the National Convention. He was
very sure of meeting with outrages, and he experienced some; but to
speak in the tribune, was speaking to France and to all Europe, and,
in the then state of things, he was almost certain of staggering
public opinion, which would force the Convention to grant the free
exercise of religion. Accordingly, some time after having refused the
liberty of worship on the demand of GREGOIRE, that assembly granted
it, though with evident reluctance, on a Report of BOISSY D'ANGLAS,
which insulted every species of worship.

The constitutional bishops had already anticipated this moment by
their writings and their pastoral letters, &c. They then compiled two
works, entitled _Lettres Encycliques_, to which the bishops and
priests of the various dioceses adhered. The object of these works,
which are monuments of wisdom, piety, and courage, was to reorganize
public worship in all the dioceses, according to the principles of
the primitive church. They pronounced a formal exclusion from
ecclesiastical functions against all prevaricating priests or married
ones, as well as all those who had the cowardice to deliver up their
authority for preaching, and abdicate their functions. Some
interested persons thought this too severe. Those bishops persisted
in their decision, and, by way of answer, they reprinted a
translation of the celebrated treatise of St. Cyprian de Lapsis. On
all sides, they reanimated religions zeal, caused pastors for the
various sees to be elected by the people, and consecrated by the
metropolitan bishops. They held synods, the arts of which form a
valuable collection, equally honourable to their zeal and knowledge.
They did more.

For a long time past the custom of holding councils had fallen into
disuse. They convoked a national council, notwithstanding the
unfavourableness of a silent persecution; and, in spite of the penury
which afflicted the pastors, the latter had the courage to expose
themselves in order to concur in it. This council was opened with the
greatest solemnity on the 15th of August, 1797, the day of the
Assumption of the Virgin. It sat for three months. The canons and
decrees of this assembly, which have been translated into Italian and
German, have been printed in one volume.

This council was published in the different dioceses, and its
regulations were put into force. During this time, the government,
ever hostile to religion, had not abandoned the project of
persecuting and perhaps of destroying it. The voice of the public,
who called for this religion, and held in esteem the constitutional
clergy as religious and patriotic, checked, in some respects, the
hatred of the Directory and its agents. Then the spirit of
persecution took a circuitous way to gain its end: this was to cry
down religion and its ministers, to promote theophilanthropy, and
enforce the transferring of Sunday to the _decade_, or tenth day of
every republican month.

The bishops, assembled at Paris, again caused this project to
miscarry, and, in their name, GREGOIRE compiled two consultations
against the transferring of Sunday to the _decade_. The adhesion of
all the clergy was the fruit of his labour; but all this drew on him
numerous outrages, the indigence to which he was at that time
reduced, and multiplied threats of deportation. The functions which
he had discharged, and the esteem of the friends of religion, formed
around him a shelter of opinion that saved him from deportation, to
which were condemned so many unfortunate and virtuous constitutional
priests, who were crowded, with the refractory among others, into
vessels lying in the road of Rochefort.

GREGOIRE remonstrated against this grievance, and obtained an
alleviation for his brethren; but it is to be remarked that, in
giving an account of their enlargement, the dissentient priests have
taken good care not to mention to whom they were indebted for having
provoked in their behalf this act of humanity and justice.

The constitutional clergy continued their labours, struggling
incessantly against calumny and libels, either from their dissentient
brethren or from the agents of the directorial government. This
clergy convoked a second national council for the year 1801. It was
preceded by a vast number of synods, and by eight metropolitan
councils.

This second national council was opened at Paris on St. Peter's day
of the same year. Several decrees had already been carried, one of
which renewed, in the face of the whole church, the example of the
bishops of Africa, by a solemn invitation of the dissentients to
conferences for the grand affair which separated them from the
constitutional clergy. The different congregations were on the point
of presenting to the general meeting their labours on the dogma,
morality, and discipline. A report on the liturgy by GREGOIRE, bishop
of Blois and vice-president of the council; and a similar report on
the plan of education for ecclesiastics, occupied the members of this
assembly, when all at once the government manifested its wish to see
the council closed, on account of the Concordat which it had just
arranged with the Pope.

Notwithstanding this proceeding, which trenched on the rights of a
national church, the fathers of the council suspended their
remonstrances, in order not to afford any pretext to those who might
have wished to perpetuate religious troubles. Wherefore, after having
sat six weeks and pronounced the suspension of the national council,
&c. they separated quietly without quitting Paris.

Their presence was necessary for the execution of the decree of the
conferences. The eighteen members destined for that purpose by the
council, after having held several meetings, presented themselves at
the Cathedral of _Notre-Dame_, the place appointed and proclaimed by
the council throughout all the extent of France. For three successive
days, morning and evening, they there assembled. At the expiration of
that time, on seeing that the dissentient kept themselves concealed,
the members of the constitutional clergy took for witnesses of this
generous and open proceeding the vast body of people who had repaired
to _Notre-Dame_, and by two energetic and moving discourses,
delivered by BELMAY, bishop of Carcassonne, and GREGOIRE, bishop of
Blois, terminated the council after the accustomed prayers.

M. SPINA, archbishop of Corinth, charged by the court of Rome with
part of the affairs to be transacted with the First Consul, about the
middle of September, sent to the constitutional bishops a brief which
he announced to come from Pius VII, in order to induce them on the
part of the Pope to give up the episcopal sees they had occupied, and
return to unity. An invitation so insulting, received by all these
bishops, drew on M. SPINA energetic answers, which made the Pope and
himself sensible how wrong they were to accuse of intrusion and
schism bishops, whose canonical institution was conformable to that
of the bishops of the first twelve centuries, and who had always
professed the warmest love for catholic unity.

But as there was little good to be expected from M. SPINA, some
bishops made their complaints to the government in a spirited and
well-composed memorial, denouncing the Pope's brief as an attack on
the liberties of the Gallican church and the rights of the Republic.
This measure had its effect. The government passed a decree for
prohibiting the publication of the Rescripts of Rome, if they should
not be found conformable to the rules and usages observed in France.

During these transactions, the Cardinal Legate, CAPRARA, arrived in
Paris. The Concordat had just been signed. The constitutional
bishops, without remonstrating against it, no sooner learnt that the
government wished them to resign, than they hastened to do so, the
more willingly, as they had a thousand times made the promise
whenever the good of religion and of the country should require it. A
similar generosity was expected on the part of the emigrated bishops.
Have they been to blame in refusing? This question may, in a great
measure, depend on the arrangement of the Concordat, and the
imperious and menacing tone of the court of Rome which demanded of
them the resignation of their former sees.[1]

[Footnote 1: For the gratification of the reader is here annexed an
account of the Pope's conduct in regard to the constitutional clergy,
since the promulgation of the Concordat.

At length the nominations took place. A small number of those
appointed to the sixty new dioceses, were taken from the
constitutional clergy. The others were taken from the mass of the
refractory and those who had retracted, and the greater number formed
the most eloquent apology of the constitutional bishops. They all
received the institution from the Pope, who announced it with an air
of triumph to the college of Cardinals, in his collocution of the
24th of May, 1802. He had good reason to congratulate himself at this
epoch, the more so as he had been made to believe that the re-elected
constitutional clergy had made a retraction, and received penitence
and absolution. The author of this calumny was BERNIER, who had been
charged by the Cardinal Legate with a step so worthy of his former
military exploits. It was solemnly contradicted. After the decree of
absolution which BERNIER had ventured to present to these bishops was
thrown with indignation into the fire of PORTALIS, the counsellor of
state charged by the government with religious affairs, who was
witness to the transaction. Indeed, he had in this encouraged the
bishops to imitate his own example in getting rid, by the same means,
of a brief which the Legate had transmitted to him in order to
absolve him from the guilt he might have incurred by taking part in
the revolution.

The government wished to pacify religious troubles; but the majority
of the dissentient bishops began to foment new disputes, by requiring
retractations from the constitutional clergy, who, for the most part,
have stood firm amidst privations of every description. However, the
mischief made not the progress which there was every reason to
apprehend: the government pronounced its opinion thereon by
prohibiting bishops from requiring any thing more than submission to
the Concordat, and obedience to the new bishops. Notwithstanding the
wise intentions of the government, sincerely desirous of peace and
concord, it is only in the dioceses fallen to the constitutional
bishops that a good understanding prevails. Most of the disentient
clergy continue to promote discord, and torment their constitutional
brethren. BOISCHOLLET, bishop of Seez, MONTAULT, bishop of Angers,
and some others, have been sent for to Paris, in order to be
reprimanded and cautioned to behave better.

It is proper to mention the documents which Cardinal CAPRARA has
distributed to all the bishops. They form a collection of thirteen
papers, which might not improperly be called an analysis of the
decretals of Isidorus. On these, no doubt, good canonists will debate
at some future day, in order to shame the court of Rome, by pointing
out its absurdities and blunders; and certainly the respect which
catholics owe to the Holy See ought not to prevent then from
resisting the pretensions of the Pope.]



LETTER XLVIII.

_Paris, January 10, 1802._

Going the other day to call on M. S----i, I stopped by the way, to
examine an edifice which, when I first visited Paris in 1784, engaged
no small share of public attention. It was, at that time, one of the
principal objects pointed out to the curiosity of strangers. At one
period of the revolution, you will, doubtless, recollect the frequent
mention made of the

PANTHEON.

Conceive my surprise, on learning that this stately building, after
having employed the hands of so many men, for the best part of half a
century, was not only still unfinished; but had threatened
approaching ruin. Yes--like the Gothic abbey at Fonthill, it would,
by all accounts, have fallen to the ground, without the aid of
vandalism, had not prompt and efficacious measures been adopted, to
avert the impending mischief.

This monument, originally intended for the reception of the shrine of
St. Genevieve, once the patroness of the Parisians, is situated on an
eminence, formerly called _Mont St. Etienne_, to the left of the top
of the _Rue St. Jacques_, near the _Place de l'Estrapade_. It was
begun under the reign of Lewis XV, who laid the first stone on the
6th of September, 1764. During the American war, the works were
suspended; but, early in the year 1784, they were resumed with
increasing activity. The sculpture of this church already presented
many attributes analogous to its object, when, in 1793, it was
converted into a Pantheon.

The late M. SOUFFLOT furnished the plan for the church, which, in
point of magnificence, does honour both to the architect and to the
nation.

Its form is a Greek cross, three hundred and forty feet in length by
two hundred and fifty in breadth. The porch, which is an imitation of
that of the Pantheon at Rome, consists of a peristyle of twenty-two
pillars of the Corinthian order. Eighteen of these are insulated, and
are each five feet and a half in diameter by fifty-eight in height,
including their base and capital. They support a pediment, which
combines the boldness of the Gothic with the beauty of the Greek
style. This pediment bears the following inscription:

  "AUX GRANDS HOMMES,
  LA PATRIE RECONNAISSANTE."

In the delirium of the revolutionary fever, when great crimes
constituted great men, this sanctuary of national gratitude was
polluted. MARAT, that man of blood, was, to use the modern
phraseology, _pantheonized_, that is, interred in the Pantheon. When
the delirium had, in some measure, subsided, and reason began to
resume her empire, he was _dispantheonized_; and, by means of
quick-lime, his canonized bones were confounded with the dust.
This apotheosis will ever be a blot in the page of the history of
the revolution.

However, it operated as a check on the inconsiderate zeal of
hot-brained patriots in bestowing the honours of the Pantheon on
the undeserving. MIRABEAU was, consequently, _dispantheonized_; and,
in all probability, this temple will, in future, be reserved for the
ashes of men truly great; legislators whose eminent talents and
virtues have benefited their fellow-citizens, or warriors, who, by
distinguishing themselves in their country's cause, have really
merited that country's gratitude.

The interior of this temple consists of four naves, in whose centre
rises an elegant dome, which, it is said, is to be painted in fresco
by DAVID. The naves are decorated by one hundred and thirty fluted
pillars, also of the Corinthian order, supporting an entablature,
which serves as a base for lofty _tribunes_, bordered by stone
balustrades. These pillars are three feet and a half in diameter by
nearly twenty-eight feet in height.

The inside of the dome is incircled by sixteen Corinthian pillars,
standing at an equal distance, and lighted by glazed apertures in
part of the intercolumniations. They support a cupola, in the centre
of which is an opening, crowned by another cupola of much more
considerable elevation.

To survey the interior of the Pantheon, in its present state, is
rather a matter of eager curiosity than of pleasing enjoyment. The
precautions taken to prevent the fall of the whole building, which
was apprehended from the almost tottering state of the dome, have
necessitated the erection of such a quantity of scaffolding, that it
is no easy task to gain an uninterrupted view of its majestic
pillars, of the delicate and light foliage of its capitals, and of
its proud and triple canopy. I mounted the ladders, and braved the
dust of stone and plaster, amidst the echoing sound of saws, chisels,
and mallets, at work in different directions.

Mercier is said to have offended several of the partisans of Voltaire
by observing that, through a strange inconsistency, the constant
flatterer not only of royalty in general, but of kings in particular,
and of all the great men and vices of the age in which he lived, here
shares the gratitude of a republic with the _man of nature and
truth_, as Jean-Jacques is styled on his sepulchral monument. Thus,
in the first instance, says he, a temple, consecrated to stern
republican virtue, contains the remains of a great poet who could not
strike superstition, without wounding morals.--Unquestionably, the
_Pucelle_ is a work, which, like a blight on a promising crop, has
committed incalculable ravage among the rising generation.
Notwithstanding the numerous inscriptions which now adorn the tomb of
Voltaire, perhaps, at some future distant period, he may experience
the fate of Mirabeau, and be _dispantheonized_.

But why meddle with the cold remains of any great genius? Would it
not have been more rational to inscribe the name of Rousseau in this
national temple, and leave his corpse to rot undisturbed, in the _Ile
des Peupliers_, at Ermenonville.

Though circumstances prevented me from ascending to the dome, you
will, no doubt, expect me to say something of its exterior
architecture. It represents a circular temple, formed by thirty-four
pillars, like those of the interior, of the Corinthian order, and
each, base and capital included, thirty-four feet in height by three
feet and one third in diameter. This colonnade is supported by a
circular stylobate, which rests on an octagon base, and is surrounded
by a gallery, bordered by an iron balustrade. The cupola, rising
above the attic, would appear crushed, were not a stranger apprised
that the pedestal on the top is to be surmounted by a bronze figure
of Fame, twenty-eight feet in height, and weighing fifty-two thousand
pounds. The pedestal is encircled by a second gallery at an elevation
of one hundred and sixty-six feet, to reach which you ascend a flight
of four hundred and sixty stone steps. As the Pantheon itself stands
on a considerable eminence, the prospect from this gallery is
extensive and commanding.

This sumptuous edifice may truly be said to exhibit a monument of the
weakness of man. Like him, before arrived at maturity, it is attacked
by indisposition. The architects, like so many physicians, were not
for some time agreed as to the seat of the evil. Each proposed his
means of cure as the most infallible; But all coincided in one
opinion, that the danger was imminent. Their skill has been exerted,
and, no doubt, with effect; for all apprehension of further mischief
is now removed.

When I was taking a last look at this proud temple, I could not help
regretting that one half of the money already expended on it, had not
been appropriated to the erection of airy hospitals in the different
quarters of this populous city. Any one who had formerly visited the
_Hotel-Dieu_ in Paris would, I am confident, have participated in
this sentiment.

What strange fatality impels men to persevere in such unprofitable
erections? This was the first question which suggested itself to me,
on getting fairly out of the Pantheon. Is it to gratify an excess of
national vanity, or create a superior degree of admiration in the
mind of foreigners? If so, the aim is missed: for, as majesty, fallen
from the pinnacle of power, becomes more interesting, so do ruins
inspire greater veneration than the most pompous structure, towering
in the splendour of its perfection. Experience tells us that every
truncated pillar, every remnant, in short, of past grandeur, rouses
attention, and speaks home to the contemplative mind; while these
modern edifices, however firmly erect on their base, excite,
comparatively speaking, but a feeble interest. In future ages,
perhaps, when the Pantheon of Paris shall be prostrate on the ground,
and the wreck of its stately dome be overrun with moss and ivy, it
may, probably, attract as much notice as the far-tamed temple of
Jupiter-Ammon.

P.S. On the evening of the 8th, BONAPARTE left Paris for Lyons, where
TALLEYRAND, Minister for foreign affairs, has been for some days
preparing for the great event which is expected to take place. When a
public measure is in agitation, the result is generally anticipated
by the eagerness of mankind; and whispers the least audible are
magnified into authentic information. Those even who may be presumed
to derive their intelligence from the best sources, not unfrequently
misconceive what they have heard, and consequently mislead others. I
will not, however, mislead you, by repeating any of the rumours in
circulation here: in a short time, the _Moniteur_ will, no doubt,
explain the real object of this journey.



LETTER XLIX.

_Paris, January 12,1802._

As no city in Europe presents so many advantages as this for the
cultivation of literature, arts, and sciences, it is not surprising
that it should contain great numbers of literati, artists, and men of
science, who form themselves into different associations.
Independently of the National Institute, Paris can boast of several
other

SCIENTIFIC SOCIETIES.

The following are the names of those held in most esteem.

SOCIETE PHILOTECHNIQUE.
SOCIETE LIBRE DES SCIENCES, LETTRES, ET ARTS.
ATHENEE (_ci-devant_ LYCEE) DES ARTS.
SOCIETE PHILOMATIQUE.
SOCIETE ACADEMIQUE DES SCIENCES.
SOCIETE GALVANIQUE.
SOCIETE DES BELLES-LETTRES.
ACADEMIE DE LEGISLATION.
OBSERVATEURS DE L'HOMME.
ATHENEE DE PARIS, _ci-devant_ LYCEE REPUBLICAIN.

Though, in all these societies, you may meet with a great number of
estimable men, many of whose names may be found in the major part of
them, yet that which holds the first rank in the public esteem, as
well from the respectability of the members of whom it is composed,
as from the proofs of talents which are necessary in order to be
admitted into it, is the

SOCIETE PHILOTECHNIQUE.

Indeed, almost all its members are men whose works hove rendered them
celebrated throughout Europe. Hitherto, with the exception of the
National Institute, this is the only society to which the government
has granted the honour of receiving it as a body, or by deputation,
on solemn occasions; and by that alone, it has _nationalized_, at
least tacitly, its institution. It is also the only one which, to the
present moment, has preserved the right of holding its public and
private sittings in the _Louvre_, since that palace has been ordered
to be wholly evacuated. A report has been spread that the hall of the
_ci-devant_ French Academy is destined for it; but as yet nothing is
determined in this respect.

Its number is confined to sixty resident members, and twenty free
associates or veterans. It is necessary to have been ten years among
the resident members, in order to have a right to be admitted into
the number of the twenty free associates, who enjoy prerogatives,
without being bound to take a part in the labours of the society.
This favour, however, may be granted to those who are for a time
called from Paris by public functions, such as embassies,
prefectures, &c.

This society meets on the 2nd, 12th and 22nd of every month at seven
o'clock in the evening. Its various committees have their particular
days for assembling. Its officers consist of a President, a
Vice-President, a general and perpetual Secretary, a temporary
Secretary, a Treasurer, and a Keeper of the records.

It holds its public sittings at noon on the last Sunday of the second
month of every _trimestre_, or quarter of the republican year,
namely, Brumaire, Pluviose, Floreal, and Thermidor.

It is composed of men of science, literati, and artists; but,
resembling a family rather than a society, its principles of
friendship admit of no classes. On the 19th of every month, it
celebrates its foundation by an entertainment, at which its members
have the liberty of introducing their friends.

It reckons among its members, in the Sciences, LACEPEDE, FOURCROY,
CUVIER, GEOFFROY, ROTROU, RUEL, LE CLERC, GAUTHEROT, GINGEMBRE, &c.

In Literature, BOUFFLERS, LEGOUVE, ANDRIEUX, JOSEPH LAVALLEE, MARIUS
ARNAUD, SICARD, GUILLARD, GUICHARD, FRANCOIS DE NEUFCHATEAU,
MARGOURIT, RENAUD DE ST. JEAN-D'ANGELY, AMAURY and ALEXANDRE DUVAL,
SAY, DESPRES, MARSOLIER, BROUSSE, DES FAUCHERETS, PIGAULT LE BRUN,
POUGENS, FRAMERY, COLIN D'HARLEVILLE, LA CHABEAUSSIERE, &c.

In the Arts, viz. Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Music,
Declamation, and Dancing, REGNAULT, VALENCIENNES, SILVESTRE the
Father, BARBIER the elder, BARTHELEMY, SAUVAGE, LETHIERS, PAJOU,
CHAUDET, NORRY, LEGRAND, BIENAIME, DECOTTE, director of the medals,
FOUBERT, honorary administrator of the Central Museum, LA RIVE the
tragedian, GOSSEC, MARTINI, LE SUEUR, GAVAUX, KALKBRUMER, ADRIEN the
elder, GARDEL, &c.

The general and perpetual Secretary is JOSEPH LAVALLEE.

SOCIETE, LIBRE DES. SCIENCES, LETTRES, ET ARTS.

It is composed of the junction of the old _Museum of Paris_ and of
the Society called that of the _Nine Sisters_. It is divided into
classes, is unlimited in the number of its members, admits associated
correspondents and foreigners, holds its private sittings at the
_Oratoire_ in the _Rue St. Honore_, every Thursday, and its public
ones at six o'clock in the evening on the 9th of the first months of
the _trimestre_; namely, Vendemiaire, Nivose, Germinal, and Messidor.
Its officers consist of a President, taken alternately from the three
classes, of two temporary Secretaries, a Treasurer, and a Keeper of
the records.

This Society is modelled a little too much after the Institute, and
it is easy to see that the former aims at rivaling the latter. This
_esprit de corps_, which cannot well be perceived but by nice
observers, has this advantage; it inspires a sort of emulation. But
the society having neglected to limit the number of its members, and
having thereby deprived itself of the means of appearing difficult as
to admission, it thence results that its labours are not equally
stamped with the impression of real talent; and if, in fact, it be
ambitious, that is a great obstacle to its views.

ATHENEE (_ci-devant_ LYCEE) DES ARTS.[1]

In imitation of our Royal Society, it comprises not only the
sciences, literature, and the arts, but also arts and trades,
mechanics, inventions, &c. Its members are not idle, and they are a
useful body, as they excite emulation by medals, civic crowns,
premiums, and rewards. Their number is considerable and unlimited; a
condition which is an evil in the last-mentioned society, and a good
in this, whose nature is not so much to shine as to encourage
industry.

It was for a while in disrepute, because DESAUDRAY, the director who
founded it, exercised over it a tyrannic sway; it has succeeded in
getting rid of him, and, since then, several persons of merit, who
had before kept aloof, aspire to the honour of being admitted into
it.

For some time past it has adopted a custom, too obsequious and
absurd, of choosing none but ministers for its Presidents. By this,
it exposes its liberty and its opinion, and gives itself chains, the
weight of which it will feel some day, when too late to shake them
off.

It holds its general sittings at the _Oratoire_ every Monday, when it
hears the reports of its numerous committees, who have their
particular days for meeting. Its public sittings are held at the same
place, but at no fixed periods.

Its officers consist of a President, a Vice-President, two
Secretaries, three Conservators, a Treasurer, and a Keeper of the
records.

It has associated correspondents throughout Europe.

SOCIETE PHILOMATIQUE.

It is wholly devoted to natural, physical, and mathematical sciences.
It assembles on Fridays, in the _Rue d'Anjou_, _Faubourg St.
Germain_. It has no public sittings; but is merely a private meeting
of men of learning, who publish once a month a _bulletin_ very
important to the sciences, and to be commended, besides, for its
composition, perspicuity, and conciseness. This publication is of a
4to size, consists of a single sheet of print, and has for its title
_Bulletin des Sciences par la Societe Philomatique_.

SOCIETE ACADEMIQUE DES SCIENCES.

This Society is recently formed: It employs itself on the Sciences
only; has not yet held any public sittings, nor published any
memoirs. Consequently, nothing can yet be said of its labours, or
interior regulation.

SOCIETE GALVANIQUE.

Its name indicates the sole object of its labours. It is newly
formed, and composed of men eminently distinguished in Medicine and
Physics. It has called in a few literati. Its officers are the same
in the other Societies. It holds its sittings at the _Oratoire_ every
Tuesday at eleven o'clock in the morning. Its labours are pursued
with ardour and it has already made several important experiments. It
announces zeal, and talents, as well as-great defects, and aspires to
fame, perhaps, a little too much; but it may still maintain its
ground.

SOCIETE DES BELLES-LETTRES.

It is somewhat frivolous. Public sittings every month. Half poetry,
half music. It meets at the _Oratoire_ every Wednesday at seven
o'clock in the evening. It arose from a small emigration of the
_Lycee des Arts_, at this day _l'Athenee_, during the tyranny of
DESAUDRAY, and originally bore the title of _Rosati_. A few men of
merit, a great number of youths, and some useless members. Too many
futile readings, too many fugitive verses, too many little
rivalships. It is faulty on account of its regulations, the basis of
which is weak, and it exhibits too much parsimony in its expenses. It
has not enough of that public consideration which perpetuates
establishments of this description. Under such circumstances, it is
to be apprehended that it will not support itself.

ACADEMIE DE LEGISLATION.

This is a fine institution, recently founded. It is composed of the
most celebrated lawyers, and a few distinguished literati. It meets
on the first of every month, gives every day courses of lectures on
all the branches of jurisprudence to a great number of pupils; has
established conferences, where these pupils form themselves to the
art of speaking, by pleading on given points of law. It publishes two
periodical works every month, the one entitled, _Bulletin de
Jurisprudence_ and the other, _Annales de Jurisprudence._ The
preliminary discourse of the first volume of the latter is by JOSEPH
LAVALLEE, and has done him considerable credit. He is, however, a
literary character, and not a lawyer.

This academy has officers of the same description as those of the
other Societies. Senator LANJUINAIS is the President at this moment.
It occupies the _Hotel de la Briffe_, _Quai Voltaire_.

SOCIETE DES OBSERVATEURS DE L'HOMME.

It assembles at the _Hotel de la Rochefoucauld_, _Rue de Seine_,
_Faubourg St. Germain,_ and is composed of very estimable men. Its
labours, readings, and discussions are too metaphysical. In point of
officers, it is formed like the other Societies. Citizen JUAFFRET is
perpetual Secretary.

ATHENEE DE PARIS, _ci-devant_ LYCEE REPUBLICAIN.

This society has survived the revolutionary storm, having been
established as far back as the year 1787. According to the
_programme_ published for the present year 1802, its object is to
propagate the culture of the sciences and literature; to make known
the useful improvements in the arts; to afford pleasure to persons of
all ages, by presenting to every one such attractions as may suit his
taste, and to unite in literary conferences the charms of the mildest
of human occupations.

To strangers, the _Athenee_ holds out many advantages. On being
presented by one of the founders or a subscriber, and paying the
annual subscription of 96 francs, you receive an admission-ticket,
which, however, is not transferrable. This entitles you to attend
several courses of lectures by some of the most eminent professors,
such as FOURCROY, CUVIER, LA HARPE, DEGERANDO, SUE, HASSENFRATZ,
LEGRAND, &c. The subjects for the year are as follows:

Experimental Physics, Chymistry, Natural History, Anatomy and
Physiology, Botany, Technology or the application of sciences to arts
and trades, Literature, Moral Philosophy, Architecture, together with
the English, Italian, and German languages.

The lectures are always delivered twice, and not unfrequently thrice
a day, in a commodious room, provided with all the apparatus
necessary for experiments. On a Sunday, an account of the order in
which they are to be given in the course of the following week, is
sent to every subscriber. There is no half-subscription, nor any
admission _gratis_; but ladies pay no more than 48 francs for their
annual ticket.

Independently of so many sources of instruction, the _Athenee_, as is
expressed in the _programme_, really affords to subscribers the
resources and charms of a numerous and select society. The
apartments, which are situated near the _Palais du Tribunat_, in the
_Rue du Lycee_, are open to them from nine o'clock in the morning to
eleven at night. Several rooms are appropriated to conversation; one
of which, provided with a piano-forte and music, serves as a
rendezvous for the ladies. The subscribers have free access to the
library, where they find the principal literary and political
journals and papers, both French and others, as well as every new
publication of importance. A particular room, in which silence is
duly observed, is set apart for reading.

[Footnote 1: This Society has laid aside the title of _Lyceum_ since
the decree of the government, which declares that this denomination
is to be applied only to the establishments for public instruction.]



LETTER L.

_Paris, January 13, 1802._

I have spoken to you of palaces, museum, churches, bridges, public
gardens, playhouses, &c. as they have chanced to fall under my
observation; but there still remain houses of more than one
description which I have not yet noticed, though they are certainly
more numerous here than in any other city in Europe. I shall now
speak of

COFFEEHOUSES.

Their number in Paris has been reckoned to exceed seven hundred; but
they are very far from enjoying a comparative degree of reputation.
Celebrity is said to be confined to about a dozen only, which have
risen into superior consequence from various causes. Except a few
resorted to by the literati or wits of the day, or by military
officers, they are, in general, the rendezvous of the idle, and the
refuge of the needy. This is so true, that a frequenter of a
coffeehouse scarcely ever lights a fire in his own lodging during the
whole winter. No sooner has he quitted his bed, and equipped himself
for the day, than he repairs to his accustomed haunt, where he
arrives about ten o'clock in the morning, and remains till eleven at
night, the hour at which coffeehouses are shut up, according to the
regulation of the police. Not unfrequently persons of this
description make a cup of coffee, mixed with milk, with the addition
of a penny-roll, serve for dinner; and, be their merit what it may,
they are seldom so fortunate as to be consoled by the offer of a rich
man's table.

Here, no person who wishes to be respected, thinks of lounging in a
coffeehouse, because it not only shews him to be at a loss to spend
his time, which may fairly be construed into a deficiency of
education or knowledge, but also implies an absolute want of
acquaintance with what is termed good company. Certain it is that,
with the exceptions before-mentioned, a stranger must not look for
good company in a coffee-house in Paris; if he does, he will find
himself egregiously disappointed.

Having occasion to see an advertisement in an English newspaper, I
went a few evenings ago to one of the most distinguished places of
this sort in the _Palais du Tribunat_: the room was extremely
crowded. In five minutes, one of the company whom I had seen taking
out his watch on my entrance, missed it; and though many of the
by-standers afterwards said they had no doubt that a person of
gentlemanly exterior, who stood near him, had taken it, still it
would have been useless to charge that person with the fact, as the
watch had instantly gone through many hands, and the supposed
accomplices had been observed to decamp with uncommon expedition.
What diverted me not a little, was that the person suspected coolly
descanted on the imprudence of taking out a valuable watch in a crowd
of strangers; and, after declaiming the most virulent terms against
the dishonesty of mankind; he walked away very quietly.
Notwithstanding his appearance and manner were so much in his favour,
he had no sooner affected his retreat than some subalterns of the
police, not thief-takers, but _mouchards_ or spies, some of whom are
to be met with in every principal coffeehouse, cautioned the master
of the house against suffering his presence in future, as he was a
notorious adventurer.

You must not, however, imagine from this incident, that a man cannot
enter a coffeehouse in Paris, without being a sufferer from the
depredations of the nimble-fingered gentry. Such instances are not, I
believe, very frequent here; and though it is universally allowed
that this capital abounds with adventurers and pickpockets of every
description, I am of opinion that there is far less danger to be
apprehended from them than from their archetypes in London. Everyone
knows that, in our refined metropolis, a lady of fashion cannot give
a ball or a rout, without engaging Mr. Townsend, or some other Bow
street officer, to attend in her ball, in order that his presence may
operate as a check on the audacity of knavish intruders.

The principle coffeehouses here are fitted up with taste and
elegance. Large mirrors form no inconsiderable part of their
decoration. There are no partitions to divide them into boxes. The
tables are of marble; the benches and stools are covered with Utrecht
velvet. In winter, an equal degree of warmth is preserved in them by
means of a large stove in the centre, which, from its figure, is an
ornamental piece of furniture; while, in summer, the draught of air
which it maintains, contributes not a little to cool the room. In the
evening, they are lighted by _quinquets_ in a brilliant manner.

Formerly, every coffeehouse in Paris used to have its chief orator;
in those of the more remote part of the suburbs you might, I am
informed, hear a journeyman tailor or shoemaker hold forth on various
topics. With the revolution, politics were introduced; but, at the
present day, that is a subject which seems to be entirely out of the
question.

In some coffeehouses, where literati and critics assemble, authors
and their works are passed in review, and to each is assigned his
rank and estimation. When one of these happens to have been checked
in his dramatic career by an _undiscerning_ public, he becomes, in
his turn, the most merciless of critics.

In many of these places, the "busy hum" is extremely tiresome;
German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Danish, Russ, together with English
and French, all spoken at the same time and in the same room, make a
confusion of tongues as great almost as that which reigned at Babel.
In addition to the French newspapers, those of England and Germany
may be read; but as they are often bespoke by half a dozen persons in
succession, it requires no small degree of patience to wait while
these quidnuncs are conning over every paragraph.

Independently of coffee, tea, and chocolate, ices, punch and liqueurs
may be had in the principal coffeehouses; but nothing in the way of
dinner or supper, except at the subterraneous ones in the _Palais du
Tribunat_, though there are many of a rather inferior order where
substantial breakfasts in the French style are provided. Whether
Voltaire's idea be just, that coffee clears the brain, and stimulates
the genius, I will not pretend to determine: but if this be really
the case, it is no wonder that the French are so lively and full of
invention; for coffee is an article of which they make an uncommon
consumption. Indeed, if Fame may be credited, the prior of a
monastery in Arabia, on the word of a shepherd who had remarked that
his goats were particularly frisky when they had eaten the berries of
the coffee-tree, first made a trial of their virtue on the monks of
his convent, in order to prevent them from sleeping during divine
service.

Be this as it may, Soliman Aga, ambassador of the Porte to Lewis XIV,
in 1669, was the first who introduced the use of coffee in Paris.
During a residence of ten years in the French capital, he had
conciliated the friendship of many persons of distinction, and the
ladies in particular took a pleasure in visiting him. According to
the custom of his country, he presented them with coffee; and this
beverage, however disgusting from its colour and bitterness, was well
received, because it was offered by a foreigner, in beautiful china
cups, on napkins ornamented with gold fringe. On leaving the
ambassador's parties, each of the guests, in the enthusiasm of
novelty, cried up coffee, and took means to procure it. A few years
after, (in 1672) one Paschal, an Armenian, first opened, at the
_Foire St. Germain_, and, afterwards on the _Quai de l'Ecole_, a shop
similar to those which he had seen in the Levant, and called his new
establishment _cafe_. Other Levantines followed his example; but, to
fix the fickle Parisian, required a coffeeroom handsomely decorated.
PROCOPE acted on this plan, and his house was successively frequented
by Voltaire, Piron, Fontenelle, and St. Foix.

As drinking, which was then in vogue, was pursued less on account of
the pleasure which it afforded, than for the sake of society, the
French made no hesitation in deserting the tavern for the
coffeehouse. But, in making this exchange, it has been remarked, by
the observers of the day, that they have not only lost their taste
for conviviality, but are become more reserved and insincere than
their forefathers, whose hearts expanded by the free use of the
generous juice of the grape; thus verifying the old maxim, _in vino
veritas._

No small attraction to a Parisian coffeehouse is a pretty female to
preside in the bar, and in a few I have seen very handsome women;
though this post is commonly assigned to the mistress or some
confidential female relation. Beset as they are from morn to night by
an endless variety of flatterers, the virtue of a Lucretia could
scarcely resist such incessant temptation. In general, they are
coquetish; but, without coquetry, would they be deemed qualified for
their employment?

Before the revolution, I remember, in the _ci-devant Palais Royal_, a
coffeehouse called _Le cafe mecanique_. The mechanical contrivance,
whence it derived its name, was of the most simple nature. The tables
stood on hollow cylinders, the tops of which, resembling a salver
with its border, were level with the plane of the table, but
connected with the kitchen underneath. In the bar sat a fine, showy
lady, who repeated your order to the attendants below, by means of a
speaking-trumpet. Presently the superficial part of the salver,
descended through the cylinder, and reascending immediately, the
article called for made its appearance. This _cafe mechanique_ did
not long remain in being, as it was not found to answer the
expectation of the projector. But besides six or seven coffeehouses
on the ground-floor of the _Palais du Tribunat_, there are also
several subterraneous ones now open.

In one of these, near the _Theatre Francais,_ is a little stage, on
which farces, composed for the purpose, are represented _gratis_. In
another, is an orchestra consisting entirely of performers belonging
to the National Institution of the Blind. In a third, on the north
side of the garden, are a set of musicians, both vocal and
instrumental, who apparently never tire; for I am told they never
cease to play and sing, except to retune their instruments. Here a
female now and then entertains the company with a solo on the French
horn. To complete the sweet melody, a merry-andrew habited _a la
sauvage_, "struts his hour" on a place about six feet in length, and
performs a thousand ridiculous antics, at the same time flogging and
beating alternately a large drum, the thunder-like sound of which is
almost loud enough to give every auditor's brain a momentary
concussion.

A fourth subterraneous coffeehouse in the _Palais du Tribunat_ is
kept by a ventriloquist, and here many a party are amused by one of
their number being repeatedly led into a mistake, in consequence of
being ignorant of the faculty possessed by the master of the house.
This man seems to have no small share of humour, and exercises it
apparently much to his advantage. In three visits which I paid to his
cellar, the crowd was so great that it was extremely difficult to
approach the scene of action, so as to be able to enjoy the effect of
his ludicrous deceptions.

A friend of mine, well acquainted with the proper time for visiting
every place of public resort in Paris, conducted me to all these
subterraneous coffeehouses on a Sunday evening, when they were so
full that we had some difficulty to find room to stand, for to find a
seat was quite impossible. Such a diversity of character I never
before witnessed in the compass of so small a space. However, all was
mirth and good-humour. I know not how they contrive to keep these
places cool in summer; for, in the depth of winter, a more than
genial warmth prevails in them, arising from the confined breath of
such a concourse. On approaching the stair-case, if the orchestra be
silent, the entrance of these regions of harmony is announced by a
heat which can be compared only to the true Sirocco blast such as you
have experienced at Naples.



LETTER LI.

_Paris, January 15, 1802._

As after one of those awful and violent convulsions of nature which
rend the bosom of the earth, and overthrow the edifices standing on
its surface, men gradually repair the mischief it has occasioned, so
the French, on the ruins of the ancient colleges and universities,
which fell in the shock of the revolution, have from time to time
reared new seminaries of learning, and endeavoured to organize, on a
more liberal and patriotic scale, institutions for

PUBLIC INSTRUCTION.

The vast field which the organization of public instruction presents
to the imagination has, as may be, supposed, given birth to a great
number of systems more or less practicable; but, hitherto, it should
seem that political oscillations have imprinted on all the new
institutions a character of weakness which, if it did not absolutely
threaten speedy ruin, announced at least that they would not be
lasting. When the germs of discord prevailed, it was not likely that
men's minds should be in that tranquil state necessary for the
reestablishment of public seminaries, to lay the foundations of
which, in a solid and durable manner, required the calm of peace and
the forgetfulness of misfortune.

After the suppression of the colleges and universities existing under
the monarchy, and to which the _College de France_ in Paris is the
sole exception, the National Convention, by a decree of the 24th of
Nivose, year III (14th of January 1795) established _Normal_ Schools
throughout the Republic. Professors and teachers were appointed to
them; and it was intended that, in these nurseries, youth should be
prepared for the higher schools, according to the new plan of
instruction. However, in less than a year, these _Normal_ Schools
were shut up; and, by a law of the 3d of Brumaire, year IV (25th of
October, 1796) Primary, Secondary, and Central Schools were ordered
to be established in every department.

In the Primary Schools, reading, writing, and arithmetic formed the
chief part of the instruction. Owing to various causes, the Secondary
Schools, I understand, were never established. In the Central
Schools, the internal regulation was to be as follows.

The whole of the instruction was divided into three classes or
sections. In the first, were taught drawing, natural history, and
ancient and modern languages. In the second, mathematics, physics,
and chymistry. In the third, universal grammar, the fine arts,
history, and legislation. Into the first class the pupils were to be
received at the age of twelve; into the second, at fourteen; and into
the third, at sixteen. In each Central School were to be a public
library, a botanic garden, and an apparatus of chymical and physical
instruments. The professors were to be examined and chosen by a _Jury
of Instruction_, and that choice confirmed by the administration of
the department.

The government, in turning its attention to the present state of the
public schools, and comparing them with the wants and wishes of the
inhabitants of the Republic, has found that the Primary Schools have
been greatly neglected, and that the Central Schools have not been of
so much utility as was expected. Alarmed at the consequences likely
to be produced by a state of things which leaves a great part of the
present generation destitute of the first rudiments of knowledge, the
government has felt that the reorganization of these schools is
become an urgent duty, and that it is impossible to delay longer to
carry it into execution.

The _Special_ Schools of Arts and Sciences are mostly confined to
Paris. The other rich and populous cities of the Republic have
undoubtedly a claim to similar institutions. There is at present no
School of Jurisprudence, and but one of Medicine.

The celebrated FOURCROY[1] has been some time engaged in drawing up a
plan for the improvement of public instruction. In seeking a new mode
of teaching appropriate to the present state of knowledge and to the
genius of the French nation, he has thought it necessary to depart
from the beaten track. Enlightened by the past, he has rejected the
ancient forms of the universities, whose philosophy and acquirements,
for half a century past, called for reformation, and no longer kept
pace with the progress of reason. In the Central Schools he saw
institutions few in number, and too uniformly organized for
departments varying in population, resources, and means. He has,
nevertheless, taken what was good in each of these two systems
successively adopted, and removed their abuses. Without losing sight
of the success due to good masters and skilful professors, he has,
above all, thought of the means of insuring the success of the new
schools by the competition of the scholars. He is of opinion that to
found literary and scientific institutions on a solid basis, it is
necessary to begin by attaching to them pupils, and filling the
classes with students, in order not to run the risk of filling them
with professors. Such is the object which FOURCROY wishes to attain,
by creating a number of national pensions, so considerable that their
funds, when distributed in the Lyceums, may be sufficient for their
support.

Agreeably to these ideas, the following is said to be the outline of
the new organization of public instruction. It is to be divided into
four classes; viz. Primary Schools, Secondary Schools, Lyceums, and
Special Schools.

PRIMARY SCHOOLS.

A Primary School may belong to several _communes_ at a time,
according to the population and the locality of these _communes_.

The teachers are to be chosen by the mayors and municipal councils.

The under-prefects are to be specially charged with the organization
of these schools, and give an account of their state, once a month,
to the prefects.

SECONDARY SCHOOLS.

Every school established in the _commune_ or kept by private
individuals, in which are taught the Latin and French languages, the
first principles of geography, history and mathematics, is to be
considered as a Secondary School.

The government promises to encourage the establishment of Secondary
Schools, and reward the good instruction that shall be given in them,
either by granting a spot for keeping them, or by the distribution of
gratuitous places in the Lyceums, to such of the pupils as shall have
distinguished themselves most, and by gratifications to the fifty
masters who shall have qualified most pupils for the Lyceums.

No Secondary School is to be established without the authority of the
government. The Secondary Schools and private schools, whose
instruction is found superior to that of the Primary Schools, are to
be placed under the superintendance and particular inspection of the
prefects.

LYCEUMS.

There is to be one Lyceum at least in the district of every tribunal
of appeal.

Here are to be taught ancient languages, rhetoric, logic, morality,
and the elements of the mathematical and physical sciences. To these
are to be added drawing, military exercises and the agreeable arts.

Instruction is to be given to the pupils placed here by the
government, to those of the Secondary Schools admitted through
competition, to those whose parents may put them here as boarders,
and also to day-scholars.

In each Lyceum is to be a director, who is to have immediately under
him a censor of studies, and an administrator who are all to be
nominated by the First Consul.

In the former institutions, which are to be replaced by these new
ones, a vigilant eye was not constantly kept on the state of the
schools themselves, nor on that of the studies pursued in them.
According to the new plan, three inspectors-general, appointed by the
First Consul, are to visit them carefully, and report to the
government their situation, success, and defects. This new
supervisorship is to be, as it were, the key-stone of the arch, and
to keep all the parts connected.

The fourth and highest degree of public instruction is to be acquired
in the

SPECIAL SCHOOLS.

This is the name to be applied to those of the upper schools, where
are particularly taught, and in the most profound manner, the useful
sciences, jurisprudence, medicine, natural history, &c. But schools
of this kind must not be confounded with the Schools for Engineers,
Artillery, Bridges and Highways, Hydrography, &c. which, _special_ as
they are essentially, in proportion to the sciences particularly
taught in them, are better described, however, by the name of
_Schools for Public Services_, on account of the immediate utility
derived from them by the government.

In addition to the _Special_ Schools now in existence, which are to
be kept up, new ones are to be established in the following
proportion:

Ten Schools of Jurisprudence. These useful institutions, which have
been abolished during the last ten years, are, by a new organization,
to resume the importance that they had lost long before the
revolution. The pupils are to be examined in a manner more certain
for determining their capacity, and better calculated for securing
the degree of confidence to be reposed in those men to whose
knowledge and integrity individuals are sometimes forced to intrust
their character and fortune.

Three new Schools of Medicine, in addition to the three at present in
being. These also are to be newly organized in the most perfect
manner.

The mathematical and physical sciences have made too great a progress
in France, their application to the useful arts, to the public
service, and to the general prosperity, has been too direct, says
FOURCROY, for it not to be necessary to diffuse the taste for them,
and to open new asylums where the advantages resulting from them may
be extended, and their progress promoted. There are therefore to be
four new _Special_ Schools of Natural History, Physics, and
Chymistry, and also a _Special_ School devoted to transcendent
Mathematics.

The mechanical and chymical arts, so long taught in several
universities in Germany under the name of _technology_, are to have
two _Special_ Schools, placed in the cities most rich in industry and
manufactures. These schools, generally wished for, are intended to
contribute to the national prosperity by the new methods which they
will make known, the new instruments and processes which they will
bring into use, the good models of machines which they will
introduce, in a word, by every means that mechanics and chymistry can
furnish to the arts.

A School of Public Economy, enlightened by Geography and History, is
to be opened for those who may be desirous to investigate the
principles of governments, and the art of ascertaining their
respective interests. In this school it is proposed to unite such an
assemblage of knowledge as has not yet existed in France.

To the three principal schools of the arts dependent on design, which
are at present open, is to be added a fourth, become necessary since
those arts bring back to France the pure taste of the beautiful
forms, of which Greece has left such perfect models.

In each of the observatories now in use is to be a professor of
astronomy, and the art of navigation is expected to derive new
succour from these schools, most of which are placed in the principal
sea-ports. A knowledge of the heavens and the study of the movements
of the celestial bodies, which every year receives very remarkable
augmentations from the united efforts of the most renowned
geometricians and the most indefatigable observers, may have a great
influence on the progress of civilization. On which account the
French government is extremely eager to promote the science of
astronomy.

The language of neighbouring nations, with whom the French have such
frequent intercourse, is to be taught in several Lyceums, as being a
useful introduction to commerce.

The art of war, of which modern times have given such great examples
and such brilliant lessons, is to have its _special_ school, and this
school, on the plan which it is intended to be established by
receiving as soldiers youths from the Lyceums, will form for the
French armies officers equally skilful in theory as in practice.

This new Military School must not be confounded with the old _ecole
militaire_. Independently of its not being destined for a particular
class, which no longer exists in this country, the mode of
instruction to be introduced there will render it totally different
from the establishment which bore the same name.

It is to be composed of five hundred pupils, forming a battalion, and
who are to be accustomed to military duty and discipline; it is to
have at least ten professors, charged to teach all the theoretical,
practical, and administrative parts of the art of war, as well as the
history of wars and of great captains.

Of the five hundred pupils of the Special Military School, two
hundred are to be taken from among the national pupils of the
Lyceums, in proportion to their number in each of those schools, and
three hundred from among the boarders and day-scholars, according to
the examination which they must undergo at the end of their studies.
Every year one hundred of the former are to be admitted, and two
hundred of the latter. They are to be maintained two years in the
Special Military School, at the expense of the Republic. These two
years are to be considered as part of their military service.

According to the report made of the behaviour and talents of the
pupils of the Military School, the government is to provide them with
appointments in the army.

NATIONAL PUPILS.

There are to be maintained at the expense of the Republic six
thousand four hundred pupils, as boarders in the Lyceums and Special
Schools.

Out of these six thousand four hundred boarders, two thousand four
hundred are to be chosen by the government from among the sons of
officers and public functionaries of the judicial, administrative, or
municipal order, who shall have served the Republic with fidelity,
and for ten years only from among the children of citizens belonging
to the departments united to France, although they have neither been
military men nor public functionaries.

These two thousand four hundred pupils are to be at least nine years
of age, and able to read and write.

The other four thousand are to be taken from double the number of
pupils of the Secondary Schools, who, according to an examination
where their talents are put in competition, are to be presented to
the government.

The pupils, maintained in the Lyceums, are not to remain there more
than six years at the expense of the nation. At the end of their
studies, they are to undergo an examination, after which a fifth of
them are to be placed in the different Special Schools according to
their disposition, in order to be maintained there from two to four
years at the expense of the Republic.

The annual cost of all these establishments is estimated at near
eight millions of francs, (_circa_ L336,000 sterling) which exceeds
by at least two millions the amount of the charges of the public
instruction for the few preceding years; but this augmentation, which
will only take place by degrees, and at soonest in eighteen months,
appears trifling, compared to the advantages likely to result from
the new system.

Whenever this plan is carried into execution, what hopes may not
France conceive from the youth of the rising generation, who, chosen
from among those inclined to study, will, in all probability, rise to
every degree of fame! The surest pledge of the success of the measure
seems to consist in the spirit of emulation which is to be
maintained, not only among the pupils, but even among the professors
in the different schools; for emulation, in the career of literature,
arts and sciences, leads to fame, and never fails to turn to the
benefit of society; whereas jealousy, in the road of ambition and
fortune, produces nothing but hatred and discord.

  "Envy, to which th' ignoble mind's a slave,
  Is emulation in the learn'd and brave."

So much for the plan.[2] In your last letter, you desire that I will
afford you some means of appreciating the essential difference
between the old system of education pursued in France, and the basis
on which public instruction is now on the point of being reorganised
and established. You must be sensible that the comparison of the two
modes, were I to enter deeply into the question, would far exceed the
limits of a letter. But, though I have already extended this to a
certain length, I can, in a few more lines, enable you to compare and
judge, by informing you, from the best authority, what has been the
spirit which has dictated the new organization.

There are very few men who know how to confine themselves within just
bounds. Some yield to the mania of innovation, and imagine that they
create only because they destroy and change. Others bend under the
yoke of old habits. Some, solely because they have remained strangers
to the sciences, would wish that youth should be employed only in the
study of languages and literature. Others who, no doubt, forget that
every learned man, who aims at a solid reputation, ought to sacrifice
to the Muses, before he penetrates into the sanctuary of science,
would wish education to be confined to the study of the exact
sciences, and that youth should be occupied on things, before they
are acquainted with words.

For the sole reason that the old system of instruction bore too
exclusively on the study of the learned languages, it was to be
feared that the new one, through a contrary excess, would proscribe
the Greek and Latin. The study of these two languages, as FOURCROY
has observed to me, is not merely useful to those who wish to acquire
a thorough knowledge of the French, which has borrowed from them no
small number of words, but it is only from the perusal of the great
writers of antiquity, on whom the best among the moderns have formed
themselves, that we can imbibe the sentiment of the beautiful, the
taste, and the rectitude of mind equally necessary, whether we feel
ourselves attracted towards eloquence or poetry, or raise ourselves
to the highest conceptions of the physical or mathematical sciences.

At no time can the instruction given to a youth be otherwise
considered than as a preparatory mean, whose object is to anticipate
his taste and disposition, and enable him to enter with more firmness
into the career which he is intended to follow.

From an attentive perusal of the plan, of which I have traced you the
leading features, you will be convinced that the study of the
sciences will gain by the new system, without that of literature
being in danger of losing. The number of professors is increased, and
yet the period of education is not prolonged. A pupil will always be
at liberty to apply himself more intensely to the branch to which he
is impelled by his particular inclination. He may confine himself to
one course of lectures, or attend to several, according to his
intellectual means. He will not be compelled to stop in his career,
merely because the pupils of his class do not advance. In short,
neither limits nor check have been put to the progress that may be
made by talent.

I here give you only a principal idea, but the application of it,
improved by your sagacity and knowledge, will be sufficient to answer
all the objections which may be started against the new plan of
instruction, and which, when carefully investigated, may be reduced
to a single one; namely, that literature is sacrificed to the
sciences.

[Footnote 1: Counsellor of State, now charged with the direction and
superintendance of public instruction.]

[Footnote 2: The new organization of public instruction was decreed
by the government on the 11th of Floreal, year X.]



LETTER LII.

_Paris, January 18, 1802._

Of all the private lodgings in Paris, none certainly can be more
convenient for the residence of a single man than those of

MILLINERS.

I have already said that such is the profession of my landlady.
Whenever I am disposed for a little lively chitchat, I have only to
step to the next door but one into her _magazin de modes_, where,
like a favourite courtier, under the old _regime_, I have both _les
grandes et les petites entrees_, or, in plain English, I may either
introduce myself by the public front entrance, or slip in by the
private back-door.

Here, twenty damsels are employed in making up head-dresses which are
hourly produced and varied by fashion. Closely confined to the
counter, with a needle in their hand, they are continually throwing
their eyes towards the street. Not a passenger escapes their notice.
The place the nearest to the window is in the greatest request, as
being most favourable for catching the transient homages of the
crowds of men continually passing and repassing. It is generally
occupied by the beauty of the _magazin_ or warehouse; for it would be
resented as an almost unpardonable offence to term this emporium of
taste a _boutique_ or shop.

Before each of them is a block, on which they form and adjust the
gallant trophy destined to heighten the loveliness of some ambitious
fair who has set her heart on surpassing all her rivals at an
approaching ball. Montesquieu observes, in his Persian letters, that
"if a lady has taken it into her head to appear at an assembly in a
particular dress, from that moment fifty persons of the working class
must no longer sleep, or have time to eat and drink. She commands,
and is obeyed more expeditiously than the king of Persia, because
interest has greater sway than the most powerful monarch on earth."

In the morning, some of these damsels wait on the ladies with
bandboxes of millinery. Obliged by their profession to adorn the
heads of other women, they must stifle the secret jealousy of their
sex, and contribute to set off the person of those who not
unfrequently treat them with hauteur. However, they are now and then
amply revenged: sometimes the proud rich lady is eclipsed by the
humble little milliner. The unadorned beauty of the latter destroys
the made up charms of the coquette: 'tis the triumph of nature over
art.

If, perchance, the lover drops in, fatal consequences ensue. His
belle cannot but lose by the comparison: her complexion appears still
more artificial beside the natural bloom of the youthful _marchande_.

In a word, the silent admirer all at once becomes faithless.

Many a young Parisian milliner has made a jump from behind the
counter into a fashionable carriage, even into that of an English
peer. Strange revolution of fortune! In the course of a few days, she
returns to the same shop to make purchases, holding high her head;
and exulting in her success. Her former mistress, sacrificing her
rage to her interest, assumes a forced complaisance; while her
once-dear companions are ready to burst with envy.

Millinery here constitutes a very extensive branch of trade. Nothing
short of the creative genius of the French could contrive to give,
again and again, a new form to things the most common. In vain do
females of other countries attempt to vie with them; in articles of
tasteful fancy they still remain unrivaled.

From Paris, these studious mistresses of invention give laws to the
polished world. After passing to London, Berlin, Hamburg, and Vienna,
their models of fashion are disseminated all over Europe. These
models alike travel to the banks of the Neva and the shores of the
Propontis. At Constantinople, they find their way into the seraglio
of the Grand Signior; while, at Petersburg, they are servilely copied
to grace the Empress of Russia. Thus, the fold given to a piece of
muslin or velvet, the form impressed on a ribband, by the hand of an
ingenious French milliner, is repeated among all nations.

A fashion here does not last a week, before it is succeeded by
another novelty; for a French woman of _bon ton_, instead of wearing
what is commonly worn by others, always aims at appearing in
something new. It is unfortunately too true, that the changeableness
of taste and inconstancy of fashion in France furnish an aliment to
the luxury of other countries; but the principle of this
communication is in the luxury of this gay and volatile people.

You reproach me with being silent respecting the _bals masques_ or
masquerades, mentioned in my enumeration of the amusements of Paris.
The fact is that a description of them will scarcely furnish matter
for a few lines, still less a subject for a letter. However, in
compliance with custom, I have been more than once to the

BAL DE L'OPERA.

This is a masquerade frequently given in the winter, at the theatre
of the grand French opera, where the pit is covered over, as that is
of our opera-house in the Haymarket. From the powerful draught of
air, which, coming from behind the scenes, may well be termed _vent
de coulisse_, the room is as cold as the season.

Since the revolution, masquerades were strictly forbidden, and this
prohibition continued under the directorial government. It is only
since BONAPARTE'S accession to the post of Chief Magistrate, that the
Parisians have been indulged with the liberty of wearing disguises
during the carnival.

Of all the amusements in Paris, I have ever thought this the most
tiresome and insipid. But it is the same at the _Bal de l'Opera_ as
at _Frascati_, _Longchamp_, and other points of attraction here;
every one is soon tired of them, and yet every one flocks thither. In
fact, what can well be more tiresome than a place where you find
persons masked, without wit or humour? Though, according to the old
French saying, "_I faut avoir bien peu d'esprit pour ne pas en avoir
sous le masque?_"

The men, who at a masquerade here generally go unmasked, think it not
worth while to be even complaisant to the women, who are elbowed,
squeezed, and carried by the tide from one end of the room to the
other, before they are well aware of it. Dominos are the general
dress. The music is excellent; but it is not the fashion to dance;
and _les femmes de bonne compagnie_, that is, well-bred women, are
condemned to content themselves with the dust they inhale; for they
dare not quit their mask to take any refreshment. But,
notwithstanding these inconveniences, it is here reckoned a fine
thing to have been at a _bal masque_ when the crowd was great, and
the pressure violent; as the more the ladies have shared in it, the
more they congratulate themselves on the occasion.

Before the revolution, the _grand ton_ was for gentlemen to go to the
_Bal de l'Opera_ in a full-dress suit of black, and unmasked. Swords
were here prohibited, as at Bath. This etiquette of dress, however,
rendered not the company more select.

I remember well that at a masked ball at the Parisian opera, in the
year 1785, the very first beau I recognized in the room, parading in
a _habit de cour_, was my own _perruquier_. As at present, the
amusement of the women then consisted in teazing the men; and those
who had a disposition for intrigue, gave full scope to the impulse of
their nature. The _fille entretenue_, the _duchesse_, and the
_bourgeoise_, disguised under a similar domino, were not always
distinguishable; and I have heard of a certain French marquis, who
was here laid under heavy contribution for the momentary
gratification of his caprice, though the object of it proved to be no
other than his own _cara sposa_.



LETTER LIII.

_Paris, January 19, 1802._

When you expressed your impatience to be informed of the dramatic
amusements in Paris, I promised to satisfy you as soon as I was able;
for I knew that you would not be contented with a superficial
examination. Therefore, in reviewing the principal scenic
establishments, I shall, as I have done before, exert my endeavours
not only to make you acquainted with the _best_ performers in every
department, but also with the _best_ stock-pieces, in order that, by
casting your eye on the _Affiches des Spectacles_, when you visit
this capital, you may at once form a judgment of the quality and
quantity of the entertainment you are likely to enjoy at the
representation of a particular piece, in which certain performers
make their appearance. Since the revolution, the custom of printing
the names of the actors and dancers in each piece, has been
introduced. Formerly, amateurs often paid their money only to
experience a disappointment; for, instead of seeing the hero or
heroine that excited their curiosity, they had a bad duplicate, or,
as the French term it, a _double_, imposed on them, more frequently
through caprice than any other motive. This is now obviated; and,
except in cases of sudden and unforeseen indisposition, you may be
certain of seeing the best performers whenever their name is
announced.

In speaking of the theatres, the pieces represented, and the merits
of the performers, I cannot be supposed to be actuated by any
prejudice or partiality whatever. I have, it is true, been favoured
with the oral criticism of a man of taste, who, as a very old
acquaintance, has generally accompanied me to the different
_spectacles_; but still I have never adopted his sentiments, unless
the truth of them had been confirmed by my own observation. From him
I have been favoured with a communication of such circumstances
respecting them as occurred during the revolution, when I was absent
from Paris. You may therefore confidently rely on the candour and
impartiality of my general sketch of the theatres; and if the stage
be considered as a mirror which reflects the public mind, you will
thence be enabled to appreciate the taste of the Parisians. Without
forgetting that

  "_La critique est aisee, mais l'art est difficile_,"

I shall indulge the hope that you will be persuaded that truth alone
has guided my pen in this attempt to trace the attractions of the

THEATRE FRANCAIS DE LA REPUBLIQUE.

The house, now occupied by the performers of this theatre, was built
at the beginning of the revolution by the late duke of Orleans, who,
according to the opinion of those best acquainted with his schemes of
profit, intended it for the representation of the grand French opera,
for which, nevertheless, it is not sufficiently spacious.

It stands adjoining to the south-west angle of the _Palais du
Tribunat_, with its front entrance in the _Rue de la Loi_. Its facade
presents a row of twelve Doric columns, surmounted by as many
Corinthian pilasters, crowned by their entablature. On the first
story is an exterior gallery; ornamented by an iron balustrade, which
runs the whole length of the facade, and communicates with the lobby.
On the north side, and at the back of the theatre, on the
ground-floor, are several covered galleries, bordered by shops,
which communicate with the _Rue St. Honore_ and the _Palais du
Tribunat_.

The vestibule, where four stair-cases terminate, is of an elliptic
form, surrounded by three rows of Doric pillars. Above the vestibule,
which is on the ground-floor, are the pit and lobby. The inside of
the house, which is immoderately lofty, presents seven tiers of
boxes, and, in the circumference, six Corinthian pillars. The
ornaments, numerously scattered, are in relief. At a certain
elevation, the plan of the house is changed by a recess made facing
the stage. Two angels, above the stage-boxes, shock the eye by their
enormous size. The boxes to the number of two hundred and twenty-two,
are said to contain thirteen hundred persons; and the pit, including
the _orchestre_,[1] seven hundred and twenty-four, making in all two
thousand and twenty persons. The construction of this house is
remarkable for iron only being employed in lieu of wood. The
architect was LOUIS.

This theatre, which was begun in 1787, was finished in 1790, when,
all privileges having been done away, it was first opened by a
company of French comedians, who played tragedy and comedy. It then
took the name of _Theatre Francais de la Rue de Richelieu_, which
street was afterwards and is now called _Rue de la Loi_. Being opened
at the commencement of the revolution, it naturally adopted its
principles; and, when the National Convention had proclaimed the
Republic, it assumed the pompous name of _Theatre de la Republique_.
The greater part of the actors who performed here, rendered
themselves remarkable for their _revolutionary_ ardour, and, during
the reign of terror, it became a privileged theatre.

The _Comedie Francaise_ in the _Faubourg St. Germain_, which, in its
interior, presented the handsomest playhouse in Paris, was called
_l'Odeon_ a few years ago, and, since then, has been reduced by fire
to a mere shell, the walls only being left standing. In 1789, this
theatre appeared to follow the torrent of the revolution, and changed
its name for that of _Theatre de la Nation_. Nevertheless, the actors
did not, on that account, relinquish the title of _Comediens
ordinaires du Roi_. Shortly after, they even became, in general, the
declared partisans of the old _regime_, or at least of the court.
Their house was frequently an _arena_ where the two parties came to
blows, particularly on the occasion of the tragedy of _Charles Neuf_,
by CHENIER, and of the comedy of _L'Ami des Loix_. The former of
these pieces, represented in the first ebullition of the revolution,
was directed against the court; and the comedians refused to bring it
on the stage, at the time of the assemblage of the national guards in
Paris, on the 14th of July, 1790, known by the title of _Federation_.
The latter was played after the massacres of September 1792, and had
been composed with the laudable view of bringing back the public mind
to sentiments of humanity, justice, and moderation. The maxims which
it contained, being diametrically opposite to those of the plunderers
who then reigned, that is, the members of the _commune_ of Paris, the
minority of the National Convention, the Jacobins, Cordeliers, &c.
they interrupted the representation, and, after a great uproar, the
piece was prohibited.

This minority of which I have just spoken, having succeeded in
subduing the majority, nothing now stopped the rage of the
revolutionary party. All those who gave them umbrage were imprisoned,
and put to death with the forms of law. The comedians of the French
theatre were thrown into prison; it appears that they were, both men
and women, partly destined for the scaffold, and that if they
escaped, it was through the address of a clerk of one of the
Committees of Public Welfare or of Public Safety, who repeatedly
concealed the documents containing the charges brought against them.
It is said that the comedians purpose to prove their gratitude, so
long delayed, to this young man, without putting themselves to any
expense, by giving for his benefit an extraordinary
representation.[2]

At length the happy 9th of Thermidor arrived; the prisons were thrown
open; and, as you may well imagine in such a nation as this, the
French comedians were not the last to be set at liberty. However,
their theatre was not immediately restored to them. It was occupied
by a sort of bastard _spectacle_, with the actors of which they were
then obliged to form an association. This did not last long. The
French comedians were received by the manager of the lyric theatre of
the _Rue Feydeau_, whom they afterwards ruined. The actors of comedy,
properly so called, contrived to expel those of tragedy, with whom
they thought they could dispense; and, shortly, they themselves,
notwithstanding their reputation, were deserted by the public. The
heroes and heroines, with Mademoiselle RAUCOURT at their head, took
possession of the theatre of the _Rue de Louvois_, and there
prospered. But, after the 18th of Fructidor, (5th of September, 1797)
the Directory caused this house to be shut up: the reason assigned
was the representation given here of a little comedy, of ancient date
however, and of no great importance, in which a knavish valet is
called MERLIN, as was the Minister of Justice of that day, who since
became director, not of the theatre, but of the republic.
Mademoiselle RAUCOURT, who was directress of this theatre, returned
with her company to the old theatre of the _Faubourg St. Germain_,
which then took the name of _l'Odeon_.

In the mean time, the theatre of the _Rue de Richelieu_ had
perceptibly declined, after the fall of Robespierre, and the public
appeared to have come to a positive determination to frequent it no
longer. The manager of the _Theatre Feydeau_, M. SARGENT, formerly a
banker, who was rich, and enjoyed a good reputation, succeeded in
uniting all the actors of the _Comedie Francaise_ and those of the
_Theatre de la Republique_. This effected his own ruin. When he had
relinquished the management of the undertaking, the government took
it in hand, and definitively organized this tragic and comic
association, to superintend which it appointed a special
commissioner.

The _repertoire_ (or list of pieces which are here played habitually,
or have been acted with applause) is amazingly well furnished, and
does infinite honour to French literature. It may be divided into two
parts, the ancient and the modern. It is the former that deserves the
encomium which I have just bestowed. In the line of Tragedy, it is
composed of the greater part of the pieces of the four principal
pillars of the temple of the French Melpomene: namely CORNEILLE[3],
RACINE, CREBILLON, and VOLTAIRE, to whom may be added DU BELLOY, as
well as of some detached pieces, such as _Iphigenie en Tauride_ by
GUIMOND DE LA TOUCHE, _Le Comte de Warwick_ and _Philoctete_ by LA
HARPE. The modern _repertoire_, or list of stock-pieces, is formed of
the tragedies of M. M. DUCIS, CHENIER, ARNAULT, LEGOUVE, and LE
MERCIER.

In the line of Comedy, it is also very rich. You know that, at the
head of the French comic authors, stands MOLIERE, who, in this
country at least, has no equal, either among the ancients or the
moderns. Several of his pieces are still represented, though they are
not numerously attended; as well because manners are changed, as
because the actors are no longer able to perform them. Next to
MOLIERE, but at a great interval, comes REGNARD, whom the French
comedians have deserted, for much the same reason: they no longer
give any plays from the pen of this author, who possessed the _vis
comica_, except _Les Folies Amoureuses_, a pretty little comedy in
three acts. We no longer hear of his _Joueur_ and his _Legataire
Universel_, which are _chefs d'oeuvre_. There are likewise the works
of DESTOUCHES, who has written _Le Glorieux, Le Dissipateur_, and _La
Fausse Agnes_, which are always played with applause. _Le Mechant_,
by GRESSET, is a masterpiece in point of style, and _La Metromanie_,
by PIRON, the best of French comedies, next to those of MOLIERE and
REGNARD. Then come the works of LA CHAUSSEE, who is the father of the
_drame_, and whose pieces are no longer represented, though he has
composed several, such as _La Gouvernante_, _L'Ecole des Meres_, _Le
Prejuge a la Mode_, which, notwithstanding, their whining style, are
not destitute of merit, and those of DANCOURT, who has written
several little comedies, of a very lively cast, which are still
played, and those of MARIVAUX, whose old metaphysical jargon still
pleases such persons as have their head full of love. I might augment
this list by the name of several other old authors, whose productions
have more or less merit.

The number of modern French comic authors is very limited; for it is
not even worthwhile to speak of a few little comedies in one act, the
title of which the public scarcely remember. According to this
calculation, there is but one single comic author now living. That is
COLIN D'HARLEVILLE, who has written _L'Inconstant_, _Les Chateaux en
Espagne_, _Le Vieux Celibataire_, and _Les Moeurs du Jour_, which are
still represented. _Le Vieux Celibataire_ is always received with
much applause. In general, the pieces of M. COLIN are cold, but his
style is frequently graceful: he writes in verse; and the whole part
of _L'Inconstant_ is very agreeably written. Indeed, that piece is
the best of this author.

FABRE D'EGLANTINE is celebrated as an actor in the revolution (I mean
on the political stage), and as the author who has produced the best
piece that has appeared since _La Metromanie_. It is the _Philinte de
Moliere_, which, in some measure, forms a sequel to the comedy of the
_Misanthrope_. Nevertheless, this title is ill chosen; for the
character of the _Philinte_ in the piece of MOLIERE, and that of
FABRE'S piece scarcely bear any resemblance. We might rather call it
the _Egoiste_. Although the comic part of it is weak, the piece is
strongly conceived, the fable very well managed, the style nervous
but harsh, and the third act is a _chef-d'oeuvre_.

Since the death of FABRE, another piece of his has been acted,
entitled _Le Precepteur_. In this piece are to be recognized both his
manner and his affected philosophical opinions. His object is to
vaunt the excellence of the education recommended by J. J. ROUSSEAU,
though the revolution has, in a great measure, proved the fallacy of
the principles which it inculcates. As these, however, are presented
with art, the piece had some success, and still maintains its ground
on the stage. It was played for the first time about two years ago.
The surname of EGLANTINE, which FABRE assumed, arose from his having
won the prize at the Floral games at Toulouse. The prize consisted of
an _eglantine_ or wild rose in gold. Before he became a dramatic
author, he was an actor and a very bad actor. Being nominated member
of the National Convention, he distinguished himself in that
assembly, not by oratorical talents, but by a great deal of villainy.
He did not think as he acted or spoke. When the _montagnards_[4] or
mountaineers, that is, those monsters who were always thirsting for
blood, divided, he appeared for some time to belong to the party of
DANTON, who, however, denied him when they were both in presence of
each other at the bar of the revolutionary tribunal. DANTON insisted
that he who had been brought to trial for a just cause, if not a just
motive, ought not to be confounded with stealers of port-folios.[5]
They were both sentenced to die, and accordingly executed.

Among the comic authors of our age, some people would reckon
DUMOUSTIER, whose person was held in esteem, but whose works are
below mediocrity. They are _Le Conciliateur_, a comedy in five acts,
and _Les Femmes_, a comedy in three acts. The latter appears to be
the picture of a brothel. They are both still played, and both have
much vogue, which announces the total decline of the art.

There is a third species of dramatic composition, proscribed by the
rules of good taste, and which is neither tragedy nor comedy, but
participates of both. It is here termed _drame_. Although LA CHAUSSEE
is the father of this tragi-comic species of writing, he had not,
however, written any _tragedies bourgeoises_, and the French declare
that we have communicated to them this contagion; for their first
_drame_, _Beverley, ou le Joueur Anglais_ is a translation in verse
from the piece of that name of our theatre. The celebrated LEKAIN[6]
opposed its being acted, and affirmed with reason that this mixture
of the two species of drama hurt them both. MOLE, who was fond of
applause easily obtained, was the protector of the piece, and played
the part of _Beverley_ with success; but this _drame_ is no longer
performed on the Parisian stage. Next to this, comes _Le Pere de
Famille_, by DIDEROT. It is a long sermon. However, it presents
characters well drawn. This species of composition is so easy that
the number of _drames_ is considerable; but scarcely any of them are
now performed, except _Eugenie_ and _La Mere Coupable_, by
BEAUMARCHAIS,[7] which are frequently represented. I shall not finish
this article without reminding you that MERCIER has written so many
_drames_ that he has been called _Le Dramaturge_. All his are become
the prey of the little theatres and the aliment of the provincial
departments. This circumstance alone would suffice to prove the
mediocrity of the _drame_. MONVEL, of whom I shall soon have occasion
to speak, would well deserve the same title.

[Footnote 1: This is a place, so called in French theatres,
comprising four or five rows of benches, parted off, between the
place where the musicians are seated and the front of the pit.]

[Footnote 2: It is not mentioned whether these sons and daughters of
Thespis, who have since gained a great deal of money, have offered
any _private_ remuneration to their benefactor, rather to their
guardian-angel.] [TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: The scan of this footnote was
imperfect. Some of the text was interpolated.]

[Footnote 3: Of course, PIERRE CORNEILLE is here meant. THOMAS
CORNEILLE, who was surnamed the Great, must not, however be
forgotten. THOMAS is the author of _Ariane_ and _le Comte d'Essex_, a
tragedy much esteemed, and which is deserving of estimation.]

[Footnote 4: Thus called, because they formed a very close and very
elevated group at one of the extremities of the hall of the National
Convention.]

[Footnote 5: FABRE D'EGLANTINE was tried for having, in concert with
certain stock-jobbers, proposed and caused the adoption of decrees
concerning the finances.]

[Footnote 6: LEKAIN said humourously that to play the _drame_ well,
it was sufficient to know how to make a summerset.]

[Footnote 7: Every one is acquainted with the two comedies written by
this author, _Le Barbier de Seville_ and _Le Mariage de Figaro_. The
astonishing run of the latter, which was acted one hundred and fifty
succeeding nights, was greatly owing to BEAUMARCHAIS having there
turned into ridicule several persons of note in the ministry and the
parliament: _La Mere Coupable_, which is often given, is the sequel
to _Le Mariage de Figaro_, as that piece is to _Le Barbier de
Seville_.]



LETTER LIV.

_Paris, January 20, 1802._

Let us now examine the merits of the principal performers belonging
to the _Theatre Francais_.


TRAGEDY.


_Noble Fathers, or characters of Kings_.

VANHOVE, MONVEL, ST. PRIX, and NAUDET.

VANHOVE. This king of the _Theatre Francais_ neither has majesty nor
nobleness of manner. His countenance is mean, and his make common.
His monotonous and heavy utterance is sometimes intermingled with
yelping sounds. He possesses no sensibility, and substitutes noise
for expression. His mediocrity caused him to be received at the old
_Comedie Francaise_; for the first or principal actors of that
theatre were rather fond of receiving persons of weak talents, merely
that they might be set off. He _doubled_ BRIZARD, whom nature had
endowed with the happiest gifts for tragedy.

VANHOVE was the first player ever called for by a Parisian audience
after the representation, in order to express to him their
satisfaction. However, it may be proper to observe that, in such
cases, it is always some friend of the author who takes the lead.
VANHOVE no longer obtains this favour at present, and is seldom
applauded. He also plays the parts of fathers in comedy.

MONVEL. This actor is not near so old as VANHOVE; but the decay of
his person is such that, when he plays, he seems a skeleton
bestirring itself, or that is set in motion. It is a misfortune for
him that his physical means betray his talents. MONVEL is a man of
genius. Thus gifted, it is not astonishing that he has a just
diction, and is not deficient in intelligence. Some persons doubt
whether he has real sensibility; but he at least presents the
appearance of it. He, in some measure, breaks his voice, and vents
mournful accents which produce much effect. With a constitution
extremely weak, it is impossible that he should perform characters
which require energy and pride. He therefore confines himself to
those in which the pathetic is predominant, or which do not
imperiously demand great efforts, such as _Auguste_ in _Cinna_,
_Burrhus_ in _Britannicus_, _Brutus_ in the tragedy of that name (now
no longer played), _Lusignan_ in _Zaire_, _Zopire_ in _Mahomet_,
_Fenelon_[1] and _l'Abbe de l'Epee_ in the two pieces of that name.
His stock of characters then is by no means extensive. We may also
add to it the part of _Esope a la cour_, in the comedy of that name
by BOURSAULT, which he plays or recites in great perfection, because
it is composed of fables only. MONVEL delivers them with neatness and
simplicity. For this part he has no equal in France.[2]

MONVEL is author as well as actor. He has composed several comic
operas and _drames_; and his pieces, without being good, have always
obtained great applause. His _drames_ are _l'Amant Bourru_,
_Clementine et Desormes_, _Les Amours de Bayard_, _Les Victimes
Cloitrees_, &c. You will find in them forced situations, but set off
by sentiment. He is lavish of stage-effect and that always pleases
the multitude. _L'Amant Bourru_ has alone remained as a stock-piece.

By his zeal for the revolution, he alienated from him a great part of
the public. When every principle of religion was trodden under foot,
and, under the name of festivals of reason or of the goddess of
reason, orgies of the most scandalous nature were celebrated in the
churches, MONVEL ascended the pulpit of the parish of St. Roch, and
preached _atheism_ before an immense congregation. Shortly after,
Robespierre caused the National Convention to proclaim the following
declaration: "_The French people acknowledge the Supreme Being and
the immortality of the soul." MONVEL trembled; and it is probable
that, had not that sanguinary tyrant been overthrown, the atheistical
preacher would have descended from the pulpit only to ascend the
scaffold.[3]

ST. PRIX. He has no fixed employment. Sometimes he plays the parts of
kings, sometimes those of lovers; but excels in none. He would be a
very handsome man, were it possible to be so with a face void of
expression. Nature has given him a strong but hollow voice; and he
recites so coldly, that he makes the public yawn, and seems sometimes
to yawn himself. When he means to display warmth, he screams and
fatigues the ear without mercy.

NAUDET. This man, who is great only in stature, quitted the rank of
serjeant in the _Gardes Francaises_ to become a bad player. In the
character of kings, he scarcely now appears but to personate tyrants.
He is very cold, and speaks through his nose like a Capuchin friar,
which has gained him the appellation of the Reverend Father NAUDET.


_First parts or principal lovers, in Tragedy_.

TALMA, and LAFOND.

TALMA. The great reputation which circumstances and his friends[4]
have given to this actor has, probably, rendered him celebrated in
England. His stature and his voice (which, in theatrical language, is
called _organ_), should seem to qualify him for the parts of _jeunes
premiers_ only, of which I shall say more hereafter. Accordingly he
made his _debut_ in that line about fifteen or sixteen years ago.
Without being brilliant, his first appearances were successful, and
he was received on trial. He soon caused himself to be remarked by
the correctness of his dress.[5] But what fixed attention on TALMA,
was the part of _Charles Neuf_, which he plays in the tragedy of that
name.[6] In the riots to which this piece gave rise in 1790, TALMA
figured as a patriot. Having fallen out with the comedians who had
behaved ill to him, and no longer placed him in any other parts than
those of confidants, he was engaged at the new _Theatre Francais_ of
the _Rue de Richelieu_, where it was proposed to him to perform the
characters which pleased him best, that is, the best in each piece.
Thus he was seen alternately personating young princes, heroes, and
tyrants.

TALMA is now reduced to those of the old stock. The characters he at
present represents are _Cinna_ in the tragedy of that name by
CORNEILLE, _Oreste_ in the _Andromaque_ of RACINE, _Neron_ in the
_Britannicus_ of the same, _OEdipe_ in the tragedy of that name by
VOLTAIRE, and _Faiel_ in _Gabrielle du Vergy_ by DU BELLOY, _Oreste_
in _Iphigenie en Tauride_ by GUIMOND DE LA TOUCHE, and _AEgisthe_ in
the _Agamemnon_ of LE MERCIER. TALMA also plays many other parts,
but, in these, he makes no great figure. He had a great aversion to
old pieces, and as long as he preserved his sway at the theatre, very
few, if any were performed. In fact, there are many in which he is
below mediocrity.

You will certainly expect that I should tell you what constitutes the
talent of this performer. He is small in stature, thin in person, and
rather ill-made; his arms and legs being bowed, which he takes care
to conceal by the fulness of his garments. He has a fine eye, and his
features are regular, but too delicate for the perspective of the
theatre. He has long since adopted the antique head-dress,[7] and has
contributed to bring it into fashion. He distinguished himself
formerly in Paris by wearing clothes of a strange form. As an actor,
he has no nobleness of manner, and not unfrequently his gestures are
aukward. His deportment is always ungraceful, though he often
endeavours to imitate the posture of the antique statues; but even
then he presents only a caricature. His countenance has little or no
expression, except in moments of rage or terror. In pourtraying the
latter sentiment, all the faculties of his soul appear absorbed; yet,
though his distraction seems complete, there is a sort of silliness
blended with his stupor, which certain persons take for truth, and
which is much more perceptible in the rest of his characters. In
rage, he is a tiger mangling his prey, and sometimes you might
believe that you heard that animal drawing his breath. TALMA has
never expressed well a tender, generous, or noble sentiment. His soul
is neither to be softened nor elevated; and, to produce effect, he
must be in a terror or in a rage; but then he makes a great
impression on the majority of the public. His utterance is slow,
minced, and split into syllables. His voice is hollow; but, in
moments of rage, it is strong, yet without being of a considerable
volume. He is generally reproached with being deficient in
sensibility: I think, however, that, by dint of labour, he might
paint feeling; for I have heard him render delicate passages happily
enough. He is accused here of having adopted the English style of
acting, though, as far as my opinion goes, with little or no
foundation. Be this as it may, he passed the early part of his youth
in London, where his father resides, and follows the profession of a
dentist. The son may now be about thirty-eight years of age.

TALMA preserves the reputation of being a zealous partisan of the
revolution; but I am confidently assured that he never injured any
one, and held in horror the assassinations which have left an
indelible stain on that event. He was intimately connected with the
deputies, styled _Girondists_ or _Brisotins_, who perished on the
scaffold, after their party was overcome, on the 31st of May, 1793,
by that of the ferocious mountaineers. The latter warmly reproached
TALMA with having, in the year 1792, after the retreat of the
Prussians, given a _fete_ or grand supper to the famous DUMOURIEZ,
with whom they were beginning to fall out, and whom they accused of
treason for not having taken the king of Prussia prisoner. The
hideous MARAT, I am told, went to call on that general at TALMA'S,
where the company received him very cavalierly, and when he was gone,
DUGAZON the actor, hot-headed revolutionist as he was, by way of
pleasantry, pretended to purify the room by burning sugar in a
chaffing-dish. All this amounted to more than was necessary for being
condemned by the revolutionary tribunal; and TALMA, being detested by
ROBESPIERRE, would, in all probability, have been delivered over to
that tribunal, but for the protection of DAVID, the celebrated
painter, who was concerting with him about changing the form of dress
of the French people. During all the reign of terror, TALMA and his
wife were in continual fear of the scaffold.

LAFOND. TALMA reigned, and was in possession of the first cast of
parts. Of these, he played whatever suited him, and rejected what he
disliked, when about a year ago, there appeared in the same line a
young actor of a rather tall and well-proportioned stature, and whom
Nature had, besides, gifted with an agreeable countenance and a
tolerably good voice. He had played in the provincial theatres; but,
in order to overcome every obstacle which might be opposed to his
_debut_, he became a pupil of DUGAZON, an actor of comedy, and what
is more singular, of one more frequently a buffoon than a comedian.
The latter, however, is said to possess a knowledge of the style of
playing of the actors who, thirty years ago, graced the French stage,
and consequently may be capable of giving good advice.

By means of this powerful protection, LAFOND got the better of every
difficulty. This actor made his first appearance in the character of
_Achille_ in the tragedy of _Iphigenie en Aulide_ by RACINE. He was
not the Achilles of Homer, nor even that of the piece, or at best he
represented him in miniature. However, his diction generally just,
his acting, some grace, and, above all, the fatigue and _ennui_ which
TALMA impressed on many of the spectators, procured this rival a
decisive success. As is customary in such cases, the newspapers were
divided in opinion. The majority declared for LAFOND, and none of the
opposite side spoke unfavourably of him. It was not so with TALMA.
Some judged him harshly, calling him a detestable actor, while others
bestowed on him the epithet of _sublime_, which, at the present day,
has scarcely any signification; so much is it lavished on the most
indifferent performers. This instance proves the fact; for if TALMA
has reached the _sublime_, it is _le sublime de la Halle_.

These two rivals might live in peace; the parts which suit the one,
being absolutely unfit for the talents of the other. TALMA requires
only concentered rage, sentiments of hatred and vengeance, which
certainly belong to tragedy, but which ought not to be expressed as
if they came from the mouth of a low fellow, unworthy of figuring in
an action of this kind; and LAFOND is little qualified for any other
than graceful parts, bordering on knight-errantry or romance. His
best character is _Achille_. I have also seen him perform, if not in
a manner truly tragic, at least highly satisfactory, _Rodrigue_ in
_Le Cid_ of CORNEILLE, and the part of _Tancrede_ in VOLTAIRE'S
tragedy of that name. LAFOND obtains the preference over TALMA in the
character of _Orosmane_ in the tragedy of _Zaire_; a character which
is the touchstone of an actor. Not that he excels in it. He has not a
marked countenance, the dignity, the tone of authority, the energy,
and the extreme sensibility which characterize this part. He is not
the Sultan who commands. He is, if you please, a young _commis_ very
amorous, a little jealous, who gets angry, and becomes good-humoured
again; but at least he is not a ferocious being, as TALMA represents
_Orosmane_, in moments of rage and passion, or an unfeeling one in
those which require sensibility.

LAFOND is reproached sometimes with a bombastic and inflated tone.
Feeling that he is deficient in the necessary powers, he swells his
voice, which is prejudicial to truth, and without truth, there is no
theatrical illusion. Nature had intended him for the parts of young
lovers, of which I shall presently speak. His features are too
delicate, his countenance not sufficiently flexible, and his person
bespeaks too little of the hero, for great characters. But when he
first appeared, there was a vacancy in this cast of parts, and none
in the other.


Jeunes Premiers, _or parts of young Lovers_.


ST. FAL, DAMAS, and DUPONT.

ST. FAL. This performer, who is upwards of forty-five, has never had
an exterior sufficiently striking to turn the brain of young
princesses. Every thing in his person is common, and his acting is
really grotesque. However, not long since he frequently obtained
applause by a great affectation of sensibility and a stage-trick,
which consists in uttering loud, harsh, and hoarse sounds after
others faint and scarcely articulated. He has, besides, but a trivial
or burlesque delivery, and no dignity, no grace in his deportment or
gestures.

DAMAS. He is much younger than ST. FAL, but his gait and carriage are
vulgar. He is not deficient in warmth; but all this is spoiled by a
manner the most common. He first played at the theatres on the
_Boulevard_, and will never be able to forget the lessons he imbibed
in that school. It is with him as with the rabbits of which BOILEAU
makes mention, in one of his Satires where he describes a bad dinner,

  "-------- et qui, nes dans Paris,
  Sentaient encore le chou dont ils furent nourris."

The _drame_ is the style in which DAMAS best succeeds. There is one
in particular, _Le Lovelace Francais_, where he personates an
upholsterer of the _Rue St. Antoine_, who has just been cornuted by
the young Duke of Richelieu. This part he performs with much truth,
and _avec rondeur_, as the critics here express it, to signify
plain-dealing. But DAMAS is no less ignoble in comedy than in
tragedy.

DUPONT. This young actor, who is of a very delicate constitution, has
never had what we call great powers on the stage; and a complaint in
his tongue has occasioned a great difficulty in his articulation.
Without having a noble air, he has something distinguishing in his
manner. His delivery is correct; but the defect of which I have
spoken has rendered him disagreeable to the public, who manifest it
to him rather rudely, though he has sometimes snatched from them
great applause.

After all the actors I have mentioned, come the confidants, a dull
and stupid set, of whom one only deserves mention, not as an actor,
but as an author. This is DUVAL. He has written that pretty comic
opera, entitled _Le Prisonnier_, as well as _Maison a vendre_, and
several _drames_, among which we must not forget _Le Lovelace
Francais, ou la Jeunesse du Duc de Richelieu_, the piece
before-mentioned.


_January 20, in continuation_.

Next follow the daughters of Melpomene, or those heroines who make
the most conspicuous figure in Tragedy.


_Characters of Queens_.


Mesdames RAUCOURT and VESTRIS.

Mademoiselle RAUCOURT. Never did _debut_ make more noise than that of
this actress, who appeared for the first time on the French stage
about thirty years ago, and might then be sixteen or seventeen years
of age. She was a pupil of Mademoiselle CLAIRON, who had a numerous
party, composed of Encyclopaedists, French academicians, and almost
all the literati of Paris. The zeal of her friends, the youth, tall
stature, and person of the _debutante_ supplied the place of talent;
and her instructress has recorded in her memoirs that all her labour
was lost. The success, however, of Mademoiselle RAUCOURT was such,
that there were, it is said, several persons squeezed to death at the
door of the playhouse. What increased enthusiasm in favour of the
young actress was, that a reputation for virtue was granted to her as
great and as justly merited as that for talent. Her father declared
in the public lobby that he would blow out her brains if he suspected
her of having the smallest intrigue. He kept not his word. Besides,
it is well known that his daughter always took care to conduct
herself in such a manner as to set the foresight even of jealousy at
defiance. Her _penchant_ not leaving her the resource to which women
of her profession generally recur, and her expenses being
considerable, her debts increased; and to avoid the pursuit of her
creditors she took refuge in Germany with her tender friend,
Mademoiselle SOUK, who has since been mistress to the late king of
Prussia. They both travelled over that country, and a thousand
reports are circulated to their shame; but the most disgraceful of
these are said to be unfounded. The protection of the queen of
France, who paid her debts repeatedly, at length restored her to the
_Comedie Francaise_. Such inconsiderate conduct did no small injury
to that unfortunate princess, whom I mention with concern on such an
occasion.

The stature of Mademoiselle RAUCOURT is colossal, and when she
presents herself, she has a very imposing look. Her face, however, is
not so noble; she has small eyes, and her features have not that
flexibility necessary for expressing the movements of the passions.
Her voice was formerly very full in the _medium_ of level-speaking;
but it seemed like that of a man. When you heard it for the first
time, you thought that, in impassioned sentences, she was going to
thunder; but, on the contrary, she assumed a very extensive
_falsetto_, which formed the most singular contrast with the dull
sounds that had preceded it. That defect, perhaps, is somewhat less
striking at the present day; but the voice of this actress is become
hoarse, like that of persons who make a frequent use of strong
liquors. The delivery of Mademoiselle RAUCOURT is, in general, just
and correct; for she is allowed to have understanding; yet, as she
neither has warmth nor sensibility, she produces scarcely any effect.
Plaudits most frequently burst forth when she appears; but, though
these are obtained, she never touches the feelings of the spectator,
she never reaches his heart, even in the parts, where she has had the
most vogue. That of _Medee_, in which she has begun to reestablish
her declining reputation, was neither better felt nor better
expressed. She was indebted for the success she obtained in it only
to the magician's robe, to the wand, and to a stage-trick which
consists in stooping and then raising herself to the utmost height at
the moment when she apostrophizes the sun. In the scene of Medea with
her children, a heart-rending and terrible scene, there was nothing
but dryness and a total absence of every maternal feeling.

The characters of queens, which Mademoiselle RAUCOURT performs, are
the first cast of parts at the theatre. It consists of those of
mothers and a few parts of enraged or impassioned lovers. In the
works of CORNEILLE, the principal ones are _Cleopatre_ in _Rodogune_,
and _Cornelie_ in the _Mort de Pompee_. In RACINE'S, the parts of
_Athalie_ and of _Phedre_ in the tragedies of the same name, of
_Agrippine_ in _Britannicus_, of _Clitemnestre_ in _Iphigenie en
Aulide_, and of _Roxane_ in _Bajazet_. In VOLTAIRE'S, those of
_Merope_ and _Semiramis_; and, lastly, that of _Medee_ in the tragedy
by LONGEPIERRE.

Like all the performers belonging to the _Theatre Francais_,
Mademoiselle RAUCOURT was imprisoned during the reign of terror. The
patriots of that day bore her much ill-will, and it is asserted that
Robespierre had a strong desire to send her to the guillotine. When
she reappeared on the stage, the public compensated her sufferings,
and to this circumstance she owes the rather equivocal reputation she
has since enjoyed.

Madame VESTRIS. Although she has been a very long time on the
Parisian stage, this actress is celebrated only from the famous
quarrel she had twenty years ago with Mademoiselle SAINVAL the elder.
Through the powerful protection of the Marshal de DURAS,[8] her
lover, she prevailed over her formidable rival, who, however, had on
her side the public, and the sublimity of her talent. This quarrel
arose from Madame VESTRIS wishing to wrest from Mademoiselle SAINVAL
the parts for which she was engaged. A memoir, written by an
indiscreet friend, in favour of the latter, which she scorned to
disavow, and in which the court was not spared, caused her to be
banished from the capital by a _lettre de cachet_. The public,
informed of her exile, called loudly for Mademoiselle SAINVAL. No
attention was paid to this by the higher powers, and the guard at the
theatre was tripled, in order to insure to Madame VESTRIS the
possibility of performing her part. Nevertheless, whenever she made
her appearance, the public lavished on her hisses, groans, and
imprecations. All this she braved with an effrontery, which
occasioned them to be redoubled. But, as all commotions subside in
time, Madame VESTRIS remained mistress of the stage; while
Mademoiselle SAINVAL travelled over the provinces, where the
injustice of the court towards her caused no less regret than the
superiority of her talent excited admiration.

Madame VESTRIS was rather handsome, and this explains the whole
mystery. She had, above all, a most beautiful arm, and paid no small
attention to her toilet. She delivers her parts with tolerable
correctness, but her tone is heavy and common. The little warmth with
which she animates her characters, is the production of an effort;
for she neither possesses energy nor feeling. Her gestures correspond
with her acting, and she has no dignity in her deportment. She seldom
appears on the stage at present, which saves her from the
mortification of being hissed. She is now old, and the political
opinion of those who frequent most the theatres rouses them against
her.

Although the court had really committed itself to favour her, Madame
VESTRIS was the first to betray her noble patrons. At the period of
the revolution, she quitted the old _Comedie Francaise_, taking with
her DUGAZON, her father, and TALMA, and founded the present theatre,
styled _Theatre de la Republique_. She was also followed by several
authors; for not being able to conceal from herself the mediocrity of
her talents, especially in such parts of the old plays as had been
performed by other actresses in a manner far superior, she
facilitated the representation of new pieces, in which she had not to
fear any humiliating comparison. The principal of these authors were
LA HARPE, DUCIS, and CHENIER. The last, who, besides, is famous as
member of the National Convention and other Legislative Assemblies,
composed the tragedy of _Charles Neuf_, in which Madame VESTRIS,
playing the part of _Catherine de Medicis_, affected, I am told, to
advance her under-lip, _a l'Autrichienne, in order to occasion
comparisons injurious to the ill-fated Marie-Antoinette.[9]


_Characters of Princesses._

Mesdames FLEURY, TALMA, BOURGOIN, and VOLNAIS.

Mademoiselle FLEURY. She has no longer youth nor beauty, and her
talents as an actress are much on a par with her personal
attractions. She recites with judgment, but almost always with
languor, and betrays a want of warmth. Besides, her powers have
declined. However, she sometimes displays energetic flashes of a real
tragic truth; but they are borrowed, and it is affirmed, not without
foundation, that Mademoiselle SAINVAL the elder (who is still living)
has been so obliging as to lend them to her.

Madame TALMA. For this name she is indebted to a divorce, having
snatched TALMA from his first wife, an elderly woman who had ruined
herself for him, or whom he had ruined. She quitted her first
husband, a dancing-master of the name of PETIT, to live under the
more than friendly protection of Mademoiselle RAUCOURT.----Madame
TALMA is not handsome, and is now on the wane. She plays tragedy,
comedy, and the _drame_; but has no real talent, except in the
last-mentioned line. In the first, she wants nobleness and energy.
Her delivery is monotonous. It is said in her praise, that she has
"_tears in her voice_." I believe that it seldom happens to her to
have any in her eyes, and that this sensibility, for which some would
give her credit, proceeds not from her heart. In comedy, she wishes
to assume a cavalier and bold manner, brought into vogue by
Mademoiselle CONTAT. This manner by no means suits Madame TALMA, who
neither has elegance in her shape, nor animation in her features. In
the _drame_, her defects disappear, and her good qualities remain.
She then is really interesting, and her efforts to please are
rewarded by the applause of the public.

Mademoiselle BOURGOIN. With respect to this young lady, a powerful
protection serves her in lieu of talent; for she is handsome. She
persists in playing tragedy, which is not her fort. In comedy, she
appears to advantage.

Mademoiselle VOLNAIS. This is a very young girl. All she says is in a
crying tone, and what is worse, she seems not to comprehend what she
says. In the characters which she first represented she was very
successful, but is no longer so at the present day.


_Characters of Confidantes._

Mesdames SUIN and THENARD.

There are two only who are deserving of notice. The one is Madame
SUIN, who certainly justifies the character she bears of a woman of
judgment; for she has the most just delivery of all the performers
belonging to the _Theatre Francais_; but she is advanced in years,
and the public often treat her with rudeness. The other confidante is
Mademoiselle THENARD, who has played the parts of princesses at this
theatre with a partial success.

There are also other confidantes, whom it is not worth while to
mention.

I shall conclude this account of the tragedians belonging to the
_Theatre Francais_, by observing that the revolution is said to have
given a new turn to the mind and character of the French women; and
the success which several actresses, at this day obtain in the
dramatic career, in the line of tragedy, is quoted in support of this
opinion. For a number of years past, as has been seen, Melpomene
seemed to have placed the diadem on the head of Mademoiselle
RAUCOURT, and this tragic queen would probably have grown gray under
the garments of royalty, had not the revolution imparted to her sex a
degree of energy sufficient for them to dispute her empire. Women
here have seen so many instances of cruelty, during the last ten or
twelve years, they have participated, in a manner more or less
direct, in an order of things so replete with tragical events, that
those among them who feel a _penchant_ for the stage, find
themselves, in consequence, disposed to figure in tragedy.[10]

[Footnote 1: _Fenelon_ is no longer performed. It is a very bad
tragedy by _Chenier_.]

[Footnote 2: There are players members of the National Institute.
MONVEL belongs to the Class of Literature and the Fine Arts.]

[Footnote 3: Notwithstanding the ill effects likely to result from
such doctrine, far more dangerous to society than the poniards of a
host of assassins, it appears that, when those actors called
terrorists, or partisans of terror, were hunted down, MONVEL was not
molested.]

[Footnote 4: There are a great many enthusiastic admirers of his
talent.]

[Footnote 5: It is really to TALMA that the French are indebted for
the exact truth of costume which is at this day to be admired on the
theatres of Paris, especially in new pieces. An inhabitant of a
country the most remote might believe himself in his native land; and
were an ancient Greek or Roman to come to life again, he might
imagine that the fashion of his day had experienced no alteration.]

[Footnote 6: The subject of it is the massacre of St. Bartholomew's
day.]

[Footnote 7: He wears his hair cut short, and without powder.]

[Footnote 8: One evening at the opera, M. DE DURAS authoritatively
took possession of a box hired for the night by another person. The
latter, dreading his power, but at the same time desirous to
stigmatize him, said: "'Tis not he who took Minorca, 'tis not he who
took this place nor that, the man of whom I complain, never took any
thing in his life but my box at the opera!"]

[Footnote 9: All the princes and princesses of the House of Austria
have the under-lip very prominent.]

[Footnote 10: The example of Mesdemoiselles BOURGOIN and VOLNAIS
having proved that first-rate talents were not necessary for being
received at the _Theatre Francais_, as a tragic queen or princess,
the number of candidates rapidly increased. For several months past,
the merit of these _debutantes_ has been the general concern of all
Paris. Each had her instructor, and, of course, was carefully tutored
for the occasion.

M. LEGOUVE, the tragic writer, first brought forward on this stage
Mademoiselle DUCHESNOIS, a girl about twenty, extremely ill-favoured
by nature. DUGAZON, the actor, next introduced Madame XAVIER, a very
handsome and elegant woman. Lastly, Mademoiselle RAUCOURT presented
her pupil, Mademoiselle GEORGES WEIMER, a young girl of perfect
beauty. Mademoiselle DUCHESNOIS played _Phedre_, in RACINE'S tragedy
of that name, seven successive times. She certainly displayed a
semblance of sensibility, and, notwithstanding the disadvantages of
her person, produced such an effect on the senses of the debauched
Parisian youth by the libidinous manner she adopted in the scene
where _Phedre_ declares her unconquerable passion for her son-in-law
_Hippolyte_, that her success was complete. What greater proof can be
adduced of the vitiated taste of the male part of the audience? She
also performed _Semiramis_, _Didon_, and _Hermione_; but in the first
two characters she betrayed her deficiency. The next who entered the
lists was Madame XAVIER. On her _debut_ in _Semiramis_, she was
favourably received by the public; but, afterwards, choosing to act
_Hermione_, the partisans of Mademoiselle DUCHESNOIS assembled in
such numbers as to constitute a decided majority in the theatre. Not
content with interrupting Madame XAVIER, and hissing her off the
stage, they waited for her at the door of the play-house, and loaded
her with the grossest abuse and imprecations. Lastly appeared
Mademoiselle GEORGES WEIMER. Warned by the disgraceful conduct of the
_Duchesnistes_ (as they are called) towards Madame XAVIER, the
comedians, by issuing a great number of _orders_, contrived to
anticipate them, and obtain a majority, especially in the pit.
Mademoiselle GEORGES made her _debut_ in the character of
_Clitemnestre_, and was well received. Her beauty excited enthusiasm,
and effected a wonderful change in public opinion. After playing
several parts in which Mademoiselle DUCHESNOIS had either failed, or
was afraid to appear, she at last ventured to rival her in that of
_Phedre_. At the first representation of the piece, Mademoiselle
GEORGES obtained only a partial success; but, at the second, she was
more fortunate. The consequence, however, had well nigh proved truly
tragic. The _Duchesnistes_ and _Georgistes_ had each taken their
posts, the one on the right side of the pit; the other, on the left.
When Mademoiselle GEORGES was called for after the performance, and
came forward, in order to be applauded, the former party hissed her,
when the latter falling on them, a general battle ensued. The guard
was introduced to separate the combatants; but the _Duchesnistes_
were routed; and, being the aggressors, several of them were
conducted to prison. The First Consul assisted at this
representation; yet his presence had no effect whatever in
restraining the violence of these dramatic factions.

Since then, Mesdemoiselles DUCHESNOIS and GEORGES have both been
received into the company of the _Theatre Francais_. Madame XAVIER
has returned to the provinces.]



LETTER LV.

_Paris, January 22, 1802._

The observation with which I concluded my last letter, might explain
why the votaries of Thalia gain so little augmentation to their
number; while those of Melpomene are daily increasing. I shall now
proceed to investigate the merits of the former, at the _Theatre
Francais_.


COMEDY.


_Parts of noble Fathers._

VANHOVE and NAUDET.

VANHOVE. This actor is rather more sufferable in comedy than tragedy;
but in both he is very monotonous, and justifies the lines applied to
him by a modern satirist, M. DESPAZE:

  "VANHOVE, _plus heureux, psalmodie a mon gre;
  Quel succes l'attendait, s'il eut ete Cure!_"

NAUDET. I have already said that the Reverend Father NAUDET, as he is
called, played the parts of tyrants in tragedy. Never did tyrant
appear so inoffensive. As well as VANHOVE, in comedy, he neither
meets with censure nor applause from the public.


_First parts, or principal lovers, in Comedy._

MOLE, FLEURY, and BAPTISTE the elder.

MOLE. At this name I breathe. Perhaps you have imagined that
ill-humour or caprice had till now guided my pen; but, could I praise
the talent of MOLE as he deserves, you would renounce that opinion.

MOLE made his _debut_ at the _Comedie Francaise_ about forty-five
years ago. He had some success; but as the Parisian public did not
then become enthusiasts in favour of mere beginners, he was sent into
the provinces to acquire practice. At the expiration of two or three
years, he returned, and was received to play the parts of young
lovers in tragedy and comedy. He had not all the nobleness requisite
for the first-mentioned line of acting; but he had warmth and an
exquisite sensibility. In a word, he maintained his ground by the
side of Mademoiselle DUMESNIL and LEKAIN, two of the greatest
tragedians that ever adorned the French stage. For a long time he was
famous in the parts of _petits-maitres_, in which he shone by his
vivacity, levity, and grace.

This actor was ambitious in his profession. Although applauded, and
perhaps more so than LEKAIN, he was perfectly sensible that he
produced not such great, such terrible effects; and he favoured the
introduction of the _drame_, which is a mixture of tragedy and
comedy. But those who most detest the whining style of this species
of composition are compelled to acknowledge that MOLE was fascinating
in the part of _St. Albin_, in DIDEROT'S _Pere de Famille_.

BELLECOURT being dead, MOLE took the first parts in comedy, with the
exception of a few of those in which his predecessor excelled, whose
greatest merit, I understand, was an air noble and imposing in the
highest degree. As this was MOLE's greatest deficiency, he
endeavoured to make amends for it by some perfection. He had no
occasion to have recourse to art. It was sufficient for him to employ
well the gifts lavished on him by nature. Though now verging on
seventy, no one expresses love with more eloquence (for sounds too
have theirs), or with more charm and fire than MOLE. In the fourth
act of the _Misanthrope_, he ravishes and subdues the audience, when,
after having overwhelmed _Celimene_ with reproaches, he paints to her
the love with which he is inflamed. But this sentiment is not the
only one in the expression of which MOLE is pre-eminently successful.

In the _Philinte de Moliere_, which also bears the title of _La Suite
du Misanthrope_, and in which FABRE D'EGLANTINE has presented the
contrast between an egotist and a man who sacrifices his interest to
that of his fellow-creatures, MOLE vents all the indignation of
virtue with a warmth, a truth, and even a nobleness which at this day
belong only to himself. In short, he performs this part, in which the
word _love_ is not once mentioned, with a perfection that he
maintains from the first line to the last.

In the fifth act of _Le Dissipateur_ (a comedy by DESTOUCHES), when
he sees himself forsaken by his companions of pleasure, and thinks he
is so by his mistress too, the expression of his grief is so natural,
that you imagine you see the tears trickling from his eyes. In
moments when he pictures love, his voice, which at times is somewhat
harsh, is softened, lowers its key, and (if I may so express myself)
goes in search of his heart, in order to draw from it greater
flexibility and feeling. The effect which he produces is irresistible
and universal. Throughout the house the most profound silence is
rigidly, but sympathetically enforced; so great is the apprehension
of losing a single monosyllable in these interesting moments, which
always appear too short. To this silence succeed shouts of
acclamation and bursts of applause. I never knew any performer
command the like but Mademoiselle SAINVAL the elder.

In no character which MOLE performs, does he ever fail to deserve
applause; but there is one, above all, which has infinitely added to
his reputation. It is that of the _Vieux Celibataire_ in the comedy
of the same name by COLIN D'HARLEVILLE, which he personates with a
good humoured frankness, an air of indolence and apathy, and at the
same time a grace that will drive to despair any one who shall
venture to take up this part after him. On seeing him in it, one can
scarcely believe that he is the same man who renders with such warmth
and feeling the part of _Alceste_ in the _Misanthrope_, and in the
_Suite de Moliere_; but MOLE, imbibing his talent from nature, is
diversified like her.

Caressed by the women, associating with the most amiable persons both
of the court and the town, and, in short, idolized by the public,
till the revolution, no performer led a more agreeable life than
MOLE. However, he was not proscribed through it, and this was his
fault. Not having been imprisoned like the other actors of the old
_Comedie Francaise_, he had no share in their triumph on their
reappearance, and it even required all his talent to maintain his
ground; but, as it appears that no serious error could be laid to his
charge, and as every thing is forgotten in the progress of events, he
resumed part of his ascendency. I shall terminate this article or
panegyric, call it which you please, by observing that whenever MOLE
shall retire from the _Theatre Francais_, and his age precludes a
contrary hope, the best stock-pieces can no longer be acted.[1]

FLEURY. A man can no more be a comedian in spite of Thalia than a
poet in spite of Minerva. Of this FLEURY affords a proof. This actor
is indebted to the revolution for the reputation he now enjoys; but
what is singular, it is not for having shewn himself the friend of
that great political convulsion. Nature has done little for him. His
appearance is common; his countenance, stern; his voice, hoarse; and
his delivery, embarrassed; so much so that he speaks only by
splitting his syllables. A stammering lover! MOLE, it is true,
sometimes indulged in a sort of stammer, but it was suited to the
moment, and not when he had to express the ardour of love. A lover,
such as is represented to us in all French comedies, is a being
highly favoured by Nature, and FLEURY shews him only as much
neglected by her. A great deal of assurance and a habit of the stage,
a warmth which proceeds from the head only, and a sort of art to
disguise his defects, with him supply the place of talent. Although
naturally very heavy, he strives to appear light and airy in the
parts of _petits-maitres_, and his great means of success consist in
turning round on his heel. He was calculated for playing _grims_
(which I shall soon explain), and he proves this truth in the little
comedy of _Les Deux Pages_, taken from the life of the king of
Prussia, the great Frederic, of whose caricature he is the living
model. He wished to play capital parts, the parts of MOLE, and he
completely failed. He ventured to appear in the _Inconstant_, in
which MOLE is captivating, and it was only to his disgrace. Being
compelled to relinquish this absurd pretension, he now confines
himself to new or secondary parts, in the former of which he has to
dread no humiliating comparison, and the latter are not worthy to be
mentioned.

Friends within and without the theatre, and the spirit of party,
have, however, brought FLEURY into fashion. He will, doubtless,
preserve his vogue; for, in Paris, when a man has once got a name, he
may dispense with talent:

   "_Des reputations; on ne sait pourquoi!"

says GRESSET, the poet, in his comedy of _Le Mechant_, speaking of
those which are acquired in the capital of France.

BAPTISTE the elder. But for the revolution, he too would, in all
probability, never have figured on the _Theatre Francais_. When all
privileges were abolished, a theatre was opened in the _Rue Culture
St. Catherine_ in Paris, and BAPTISTE was sent for from Rouen to
perform the first parts. In _Robert Chef des Brigands_ and _La Mere
Coupable_, two _drames_, the one almost as full of improbabilities as
the other, he had great success; but in _Le Glorieux_ he acquired a
reputation almost as gigantic as his stature, and as brilliant as his
coat covered with spangles. This was the part in which BELLECOURT
excelled, and which had been respected even by MOLE. The latter at
length appeared in it; but irony, which is the basis of this
character, was not his talent: yet MOLE having seen the court, and
knowing in what manner noblemen conducted themselves, BAPTISTE had an
opportunity of correcting himself by him in the part of _Le
Glorieux_.

The _Theatre Francais_ being in want of a performer for such
characters, BAPTISTE was called in. Figure to yourself the person of
Don Quixote, and you will have an idea of that of this actor, whose
countenance, however, is unmeaning, and whose voice seems to issue
from the mouth of a speaking-trumpet.


Jeunes premiers, _or young lovers, in Comedy_.

ST. FAL, DUPONT, DAMAS, and ARMAND.

One might assemble what is best in these four actors, without making
one perfect _lover_. I have already spoken of the first three, who,
in comedy, have nearly the same defects as in tragedy. As for the
fourth, he is young; but unfortunately for him, he has no other
recommendation.


_Characters of_ Grims, _or_ Roles a manteau.[2]

GRANDMENIL and CAUMONT.

GRANDMENIL. This performer is, perhaps, the only one who has
preserved what the French critics call _la tradition_, that is, a
traditionary knowledge of the old school, or of the style in which
players formerly acted, and especially in the time of MOLIERE. This
would be an advantage for him, but for a defect which it is not in
his power to remedy; for what avails justness of diction when a
speaker can no longer make himself heard? And this is the case with
GRANDMENIL. However, I would advise you to see him in the character
of the _Avare_ (in MOLIERE'S comedy of that name) which suits him
perfectly. By placing yourself near the stage, you might lose nothing
of the truth and variety of his delivery, as well as of the play of
his countenance, which is facilitated by his excessive meagreness,
and to which his sharp black eyes give much vivacity.

GRANDMENIL is member of the National Institute.

CAUMONT. He possesses that in which his principal in this cast of
parts is deficient, and little more. One continually sees the efforts
he makes to be comic, which sufficiently announces that he is not
naturally so. However, he has a sort of art, which consists in
straining his acting a little without overcharging it.


_Parts of Valets_.

DUGAZON, DAZINCOURT, and LAROCHELLE.

DUGAZON. One may say much good and much ill of this actor, and yet be
perfectly correct. He has no small share of warmth and comic humour.
He plays sometimes as if by inspiration; but more frequently too he
charges his parts immoderately. PREVILLE, who is no common authority,
said of DUGAZON: "How well he can play, if he is in the humour!" He
is but seldom in the humour, and when he is requested not to
overcharge his parts, 'tis then that he charges them most. Not that
he is a spoiled child of the public; for they even treat him
sometimes with severity. True it is that he is reproached for his
conduct during the storms of the revolution. Although advanced in
years, he became Aide-de-camp to SANTERRE.----SANTERRE! An execrable
name, and almost generally execrated! Is then a mixture of horror and
ridicule one of the characteristics of the revolution? And must a
painful remembrance come to interrupt a recital which ought to recall
cheerful ideas only? In his quality of Aide-de-camp to the Commandant
of the national guard of Paris, DUGAZON was directed to superintend
the interment of the unfortunate Lewis XVI, and in order to consume
in an instant the body of that prince, whose pensioner he had been,
he caused it to be placed in a bed of quick lime. No doubt, DUGAZON
did no more than execute the orders he received; but he was to blame
in putting himself in a situation to receive them.

Not to return too abruptly to the tone which suits an article wherein
I am speaking of actors playing comic parts, I shall relate a
circumstance which had well nigh become tragic, in regard to DUGAZON,
and which paints the temper of the time when it took place. Being an
author as well as an actor, DUGAZON had written a little comedy,
entitled _Le Modere_. It was his intention to depress the quality
indicated by the title. However, he was thought to have treated his
subject ill, and, after all, to have made his _modere_ an honest man.
In consequence of this opinion, at the very moment when he was coming
off the stage, after having personated that character in his piece,
he was apprehended and taken to prison.

DAZINCOURT. In no respect can the same reproaches be addressed to him
as to DUGAZON; but as to what concerns the art, it may be said that
if DUGAZON goes beyond the mark, DAZINCOURT falls short of it.
PREVILLE said of the latter as a comedian: "Leaving pleasantry out of
the question, DAZINCOURT is well enough." Nothing can be added to the
opinion of that great master.

LAROCHELLE. He has warmth, truth, and much comic humour; but is
sometimes a little inclined to charge his parts. He has a good stage
face. It appears that he can only perform parts not overlong, as his
voice easily becomes hoarse. This is a misfortune both for himself
and the public; for he really might make a good comedian.

There are a few secondary actors in the comic line, such as BAPTISTE
the younger, who performs in much too silly a manner his parts of
simpletons, and one DUBLIN, who is the ostensible courier; not to
speak of some others, whose parts are of little importance.


_January 22, in continuation,_


_Principal female Characters, in Comedy._

Mesdemoiselles CONTAT, and MEZERAY.--Madame TALMA.

Mademoiselle CONTAT. This actress has really brought about a
revolution in the theatre. Before her time, the essential requisites
for the parts which she performs, were sensibility, decorum,
nobleness, and dignity, even in diction, as well as in gestures, and
deportment. Those qualities are not incompatible with the grace, the
elegance of manners, and the playfulness also required by those
characters, the principal object of which is to interest and please,
which ought only to touch lightly on comic humour, and not be
assimilated to that of chambermaids, as is done by Mademoiselle
CONTAT. A great coquette, for instance, like _Celimene_ in the
_Misanthrope_, ought not to be represented as a girl of the town, nor
_Madame de Clainville_, in the pretty little comedy of _La Gageure_,
as a shopkeeper's wife.

The innovation made by Mademoiselle CONTAT was not passed over
without remonstrance. Those strict judges, those conservators of
rules, those arbiters of taste, in short, who had been long in the
habit of frequenting the theatre, protested loudly against this new
manner of playing the principal characters. "That is not becoming!"
exclaimed they incessantly: which signified "that is not the truth!"
But what could the feeble remonstrances of the old against the warm
applause of the young?

Mademoiselle CONTAT had a charming person, of which you may still be
convinced. She was not then, as she is now, overloaded with
_embonpoint_, and, though rather inclined to stoop, could avail
herself of the advantages of an elevated stature. None of the
resources of the toilet were neglected by her, and for a long time
the most elegant women in Paris took the _ton_ for dress from
Mademoiselle CONTAT. Besides, she always had a delicacy of
discrimination in her delivery, and a varied sprightliness in the
_minutiae_ of her acting. Her voice, though sometimes rather shrill,
is not deficient in agreeableness, but is easily modulated, except
when it is necessary for her to express feeling. The inferiority of
Mademoiselle CONTAT on this head is particularly remarkable when she
plays with MOLE. In a very indifferent comedy, called _Le Jaloux sans
amour_, at the conclusion of which the husband entreats his wife to
pardon his faults, MOLE contrives to find accents so tender, so
affecting; he envelops his voice, as it were, with sounds so soft, so
mellow, and at the same time so delicate, that the audience, fearing
to lose the most trifling intonation, dare not draw their breath.
Mademoiselle CONTAT replies, and, although she has to express the
same degree of feeling, the charm is broken.

Being aware that the want of nobleness and sensibility was a great
obstacle to her success, this actress endeavoured to insure it by
performing characters which require not those two qualities. The
first she selected for her purpose was _Susanne_ in the _Mariage de
Figaro_. _Susanne_ is an elegant and artful chambermaid; and
Mademoiselle CONTAT possessed every requisite for representing well
the part. She had resigned the principal character in the piece to
Mademoiselle SAINVAL the younger, an actress who was celebrated in
tragedy, but had never before appeared in comedy. On this occasion, I
saw Mademoiselle SAINVAL play that ungracious part with a truth, a
grace, a nobleness, a dignity, a perfection in short, of which no
idea had yet been entertained in Paris.

Another part in which Mademoiselle CONTAT also rendered herself
famous, is that of _Madame Evrard_, in the _Vieux Celibataire_.
--_Madame Evrard_ is an imperious, cunning, and roguish housekeeper;
and this actress has no difficulty in seizing the _ton_ suitable to
such a character. This could not be done by one habituated to a more
noble manner. Mademoiselle CONTAT has not followed the impulse of
Nature, who intended her for the characters of _soubrettes_; but,
when she made her _debut_, there were in that cast of parts three or
four women not deficient in merit, and it would have taken her a long
time to make her way through them.

The parts which Mademoiselle CONTAT plays at present with the
greatest success are those in the pieces of MARIVAUX, which all bear
a strong resemblance, and the nature of which she alters; for it is
also one of her defects to change always the character drawn by the
author. The reputation enjoyed by this actress is prodigious; and
such a _critique_ as the one I am now writing would raise in Paris a
general clamour. Her defects, it is true, are less prominent at this
day, when hereditary rank is annihilated; and merit, more than
manners, raises men to the highest stations. Besides, it is a
presumption inherent in the Parisians to believe that they never can
be mistaken. To reason with them on taste is useless; it is
impossible to compel them to retract when they have once said "_Cela
est charmant_."

Before I take leave of Mademoiselle CONTAT, I shall observe that
there exists in the _Theatre Francais_ a little league, of which she
is the head. Besides herself, it is composed of Mademoiselle
DEVIENNE, DAZINCOURT, and FLEURY. I am confidently assured that the
choice and reception of pieces, and the _debut_ of performers depend
entirely on them. As none of them possess all the requisites for
their several casts of parts, they take care to play no other than
pieces of an equivocal kind, in which neither _bon ton_, nor _vis
comica_ is to be found. They avoid, above all, those of MOLIERE and
REGNARD, and are extremely fond of the comedies of MARIVAUX, in which
masters and lackies express themselves and act much alike. The unison
is then perfect, and some people call this _de l'ensemble_, as if any
could result from such a confusion of parts of an opposite nature. As
for new pieces, the members of the league must have nothing but
_papillotage_ (as the French call it), interspersed with allusions to
their own talent, which the public never fail to applaud. When an
author has inserted such compliments in his piece, he is sure of its
being received, but not always of its being successful; for when the
ground is bad, the tissue is good for nothing.

Mademoiselle MEZERAY. She is of the school of Mademoiselle CONTAT,
whence have issued only feeble pupils. But she is very pretty, and
has the finest eyes imaginable. She plays the parts of young
coquettes, in which her principal dares no longer appear. Without
being vulgar in her manner, one cannot say that she has dignity. As
for sensibility, she expresses it still less than Mademoiselle
CONTAT. However, the absence of this sentiment is a defect which is
said to be now common among the French. Indeed, if it be true that
they are fickle, and this few will deny, the feeling they possess
cannot be lasting.

Madame TALMA. I have already spoken of her merits as a comic actress,
when I mentioned her as a tragedian.


_Parts of young Lovers._

Mesdemoiselles MARS, BOURGOIN, and GROS.

Mademoiselle MARS. She delivers in an ingenuous manner innocent
parts, and those of lovers. She has modest graces, an interesting
countenance, and appears exceedingly handsome on the stage. But she
will never be a true actress.

Mademoiselle BOURGOIN. She has some disposition for comedy, which she
neglects, and has none for tragedy, in which she is ambitious to
figure. I have already alluded to her beauty, which is that of a
pretty _grisette_.

Mademoiselle GROS. She is the pupil of DUGAZON, and made her _debut_
in tragedy. The newspaper-writers transformed her into Melpomene, yet
so rapid was her decline, that presently she was scarcely more than a
waiting woman to Thalia.


Characters, _or foolish Mothers_.

Mesdemoiselles LACHAISSAIGNE and THENARD.

The latter of these titles explains the former. In fact, this cast of
parts consists of _characters_, that is, foolish or crabbed old
women, antiquated dowagers in love, &c. Commonly, these parts are
taken up by actresses grown too old for playing _soubrettes_; but to
perform them well, requires no trifling share of comic humour; for,
in general, they are charged with it. At the present day, this
department may be considered as vacant. Mademoiselle LACHAISSAIGNE,
who is at the head of it, is very old, and never had the requisites
for performing in it to advantage. Mademoiselle THENARD begins to
_double_ her in this line of acting, but in a manner neither more
sprightly nor more captivating.


_Parts of_ Soubrettes _or Chambermaids_.

Mesdemoiselles DEVIENNE and DESBROSSES.

Mademoiselle DEVIENNE. If Mademoiselle CONTAT changes the principal
characters in comedy into those of chambermaids, Mademoiselle
DEVIENNE does the contrary, and from the same motive, namely, because
she is deficient in the requisites for her cast of parts, such as
warmth, comic truth, and vivacity. Yet, while she assumes the airs of
a fine lady, she takes care to dwell on the slightest _equivoque_; so
that what would be no more than gay in the mouth of another woman, in
hers becomes indecent. As she is a mannerist in her acting, some
think it perfect, and they say too that she is charming. However, she
must have been very handsome.

Mademoiselle DESBROSSES. The public say nothing of her, and I think
this is all she can wish for.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have now passed in review before you those who are charged to
display to advantage the dramatic riches bequeathed to the French
nation by CORNEILLE, RACINE, MOLIERE, CREBILLON, VOLTAIRE, REGNARD,
&c. &c. &c. If it be impossible to squander them, at least they may
at present be considered as no more than a buried treasure. Although
the _chefs d'oeuvre_ of those masters of the stage are still
frequently represented, and the public even appear to see them with
greater pleasure than new pieces, they no longer communicate that
electric fire which inflames genius, and (if I may use the
expression) renders it productive. A great man can, it is true,
create every thing himself; but there are minds which require an
impulse to be set in motion. Without a CORNEILLE, perhaps the French
nation would not have had a RACINE.

Formerly, people went to the _Theatre Francais_ in order to hear, as
it were, a continual course of eloquence, elocution, and
pronunciation. It even had the advantage over the pulpit and the bar,
where vivacity of expression was prohibited or restricted. Many a
sacred or profane orator came hither, either privately or publicly,
to study the art by which great actors, at pleasure, worked on the
feelings of the audience, and charmed their very soul. It was, above
all, at the _Theatre Francais_ that foreigners might have learned to
pronounce well the French language. The audience shuddered at the
smallest fault of pronunciation committed by a performer, and a
thousand voices instantly corrected him. At the present day, the
comedians insist that it belongs to them alone to form rules on this
point, and they now and then seem to vie with each other in despising
those already established. The audience being perhaps too indulgent,
they stand uncorrected.

Whether or not the _Theatre Francais_ will recover its former fame,
is a question which Time alone can determine. Undoubtedly, many
persons of a true taste and an experienced ear have disappeared, and
no one now seems inclined to say to the performers: "That is the
point which you must attain, and at which you must stop, if you wish
not to appear deficient, or to overact your part." But the fact is,
they are without a good model, and the spectators, in general, are
strangers to the _minutiae/i> of dramatic excellence. In tragedy,
indeed, I am inclined to think that there never existed at the
_Theatre Francais_ such a deficiency of superior talents. When LEKAIN
rose into fame, there were not, I have been told, any male performers
who went as far as himself, though several possessed separately the
qualifications necessary for that line. However, there was
Mademoiselle DUMESNIL, a pupil of nature, from whom he might learn to
express all the passions; while from Mademoiselle CLAIRON he might
snatch all the secrets of art.

As for Comedy, it is almost in as desperate a situation. The _ton_ of
society and that of comedians may have a reciprocal influence, and
the revolution having tended to degrade the performance of the
latter, the consequences may recoil on the former. But here I must
stop.--I shall only add that it is not to the revolution that the
decline of the art, either in tragedy or comedy, is to be imputed. It
is, I understand, owing to intrigue, which has, for a long time past,
introduced pitiful performers on the stage of the _Theatre Francais_,
and to a multiplicity of other causes which it would be too tedious
to discuss, or even to mention. Notwithstanding the encomiums daily
lavished on the performers by the venal pen of newspaper writers, the
truth is well known here on this subject. Endeavours are made by the
government to repair the mischief by forming pupils; but how are they
to be formed without good masters or good models?

[Footnote 1: It must grieve every admirer of worth and talent to hear
that MOLE is now no more. Not long since he paid the debt of nature.
As an actor, it is more than probable that "we ne'er shall look on
his like again."]

[Footnote 2: The word _Grim_, in French theatrical language, is
probably derived from _grimace_, and the expression of _Roles a
manteau_ arises from the personages which they represent being old
men, who generally appear on the stage with a cloak.]



LETTER LVI.

_Paris, January 24, 1802._

Among the customs introduced here since the revolution, that of women
appearing in public in male attire is very prevalent. The more the
Police endeavours to put a stop to this extravagant whim, the more
some females seek excuses for persisting in it: the one makes a
pretext of business which obliges her to travel frequently, and
thinks she is authorized to wear men's clothes as being more
convenient on a journey; another, of truly-elegant form, dresses
herself in this manner, because  she wishes to attract more notice by
singularity, without reflecting that, in laying aside her proper
garb, she loses those feminine graces, the all-seductive
accompaniments of beauty. Formerly, indeed, nothing could tend more
to disguise the real shape of a woman than the

COSTUME OF THE FRENCH LADIES.

A head-dress, rising upwards of half a yard in height, seemed to
place her face near the middle of her body; her stomach was
compressed into a stiff case of whalebone, which checked respiration,
and deprived her almost of the power of eating; while a pair of
cumbersome hoops, placed on her hips, gave to her petticoats the
amplitude of a small elliptical, inflated balloon. Under these
strange accoutrements, it would, at first sight, almost have puzzled
BUFFON himself to decide in what species such a female animal should
be classed. However, this is no longer an enigma.

With the parade of a court, all etiquette of dress disappeared.
Divested of their uncouth and unbecoming habiliments, the women
presently adopted a style of toilet not only more advantageous to the
display of their charms, but also more analogous to modern manners.

No sooner was France proclaimed a republic, than the annals of
republican antiquity were ransacked for models of female attire: the
Roman tunic and Greek _cothurnus_ soon adorned the shoulders of the
Parisian _elegantes_; and every antique statue or picture, relating
to those periods of history, was, in some shape or another, rendered
tributary to the ornament of their person.

This revolution in their dress has evidently tended to strengthen
their constitution, and give them a pectoral _embonpoint_, very
agreeable, no doubt, to the amateur of female proportion, but the too
open exposure of which cannot, in a moral point of view, be
altogether approved. These treasures are, in consequence, now as
plentiful as they were before uncommon. You can scarcely move a step
in Paris without seeing something of this kind to exercise your
admiration. Many of those domains of love, which, under the
old-fashioned dress, would have been considered as a flat country,
now present, through a transparent crape, the perfect rotundity of
two sweetly-rising hillocks. As prisoners, wan and disfigured by
confinement, recover their health and fulness on being restored to
liberty, so has the bosom of the Parisian belles, released from the
busk and corset, experienced a salutary expansion.

In a political light, this must afford no small satisfaction to him
who takes an interest in the physical improvement of the human
species, as it tends to qualify them better for that maternal office,
dictated by Nature, and which, in this country, has too long and too
frequently been intrusted to the uncertain discharge  of a mercenary
hireling. Another advantage too arises from the established fashion.
Thanks to the ease of their dress, the French ladies can now satisfy
all the capacity of their appetite. Nothing prevents the stomach from
performing its functions; nothing paralyzes the spring of that
essential organ. Nor, indeed, can they be reproached with
fastidiousness on that score. From the soup to the desert, they are
not one moment idle: they eat of every thing on the table, and drink
in due proportion. Not that I would by any means insinuate that they
drink more than is necessary or proper. On the contrary, no women on
earth are more temperate, in this respect, than the French; they, for
the most part, mix water even with their weakest wine; but they also
swallow two or three glasses of _vin de dessert_, without making an
affected grimace, and what is better, they eat at this rate without
any ill consequence, Now, a good appetite and good digestion must
strengthen health, and, in general, tend to produce pectoral
_embonpoint_.

In this capital, you no longer find among the fair sex those
over-delicate constitutions, whose artificial existence could be
maintained only by salts, essences, and distilled waters. Charms as
fresh as those of Hebe, beauties which might rival the feminine
softness of those of Venus, while they bespeak the vigour of Diana,
and the bloom of Hygeia, are the advantages which distinguish many of
the Parisian belles of the present day, and for which they are, in a
great measure, indebted to the freedom they enjoy under the antique
costume.

In no part of the world, perhaps, do women pay a more rigid attention
to cleanliness in their person than in Paris. The frequent use of the
tepid bath, and of every thing tending to preserve the beauty of
their fine forms, employ their constant solicitude. So much care is
not thrown away. No where, I believe, are women now to be seen more
uniformly healthy, no where do they possess more the art of assisting
nature; no where, in a word, are they better skilled in concealing
and repairing the ravages of Time, not so much by the use of
cosmetics, as by the tasteful manner in which they vary the
decoration of their person.



LETTER LVII.

_Paris, January 25, 1802._

I have already observed that the general effervescence to which the
revolution gave birth, soon extended to the seminaries of learning.
The alarm-bell resounded even in the most silent of those retreats.
Bands of insurgents, intermixed with women, children, and men of
every condition, came each moment to interrupt the studies, and,
forcing the students to range themselves under their filthy banner,
presented to them the spectacle of every excess. It required not all
this violence to disorganize institutions already become
antiquated,[1] and few of which any longer enjoyed much consideration
in the public opinion. The colleges and universities were deserted,
and their exercises ceased. Not long after, they were suppressed. The
only establishment of this description which has survived the storms
of the revolution, and which is no less important from its utility
than extensive in its object, is the

COLLEGE DE FRANCE.

It neither owed this exemption to its ancient celebrity, nor to the
talents of its professors; but having no rich collections which could
attract notice, no particular estates which could tempt cupidity, it
was merely forgotten by the revolutionists, and their ignorance
insured its preservation.

The _College de France_ is, at the present day, in this country, and
perhaps in the rest of Europe, the only establishment where every
branch of human knowledge is taught in its fullest extent. The object
of this institution is to spread the most elevated notions of the
sciences, to maintain and pave the way to the progress of literature,
either by preserving the taste and purity of the ancient authors, or
by exhibiting the order, lustre, and richness of the modern. Its duty
is to be continually at the head of all the establishments of public
instruction, in order to guide them, lead them on, and, as it were,
light them with the torch of knowledge.

This college, which is situated in the _Place de Cambray_, _Rue St.
Jacques_, was founded by Francis I. That monarch, distinguished from
all cotemporaries by his genius, amiableness, and magnificence, saw
in literature the source of the glory of princes, and of the
civilization of the people. He loved and honoured it, not only in the
writings of the learned, but in the learned themselves, whom he
called about his person, at the same time loading them with
encouragement and favours. It is singular that those times, so rude
in many respects, were, nevertheless, productive of sentiments the
most delicate and noble.

Truth never shuns princes who welcome it. Francis I was not suffered
to remain ignorant of the deplorable state in which literature then
was in France, and, though very young, he disdained not this
information. Nothing, in fact, could approach nearer to barbarism.
The impulse Charlemagne had given to study was checked. The torches
he had lighted were on the point of being extinguished. That famous
university which he had created had fallen into decline. A prey to
all the cavils of pedantry, it substituted dispute and quibble to
true philosophy.

Nothing was any longer talked of but the _five universals_,
_substance_, and _accident_. All the fury of argument was manifested
to know whether those were simple figures, or beings really existing,
all things equally useful to the revival of knowledge and the
happiness of mankind. The Hebrew and Greek tongues were scarcely, if
at all, known; the living languages, little cultivated; Latin itself,
then almost common, was taught in the most rude and imperfect manner.
In short, the most learned body of the State had fallen into the most
profound ignorance: a striking example of the necessity of renewing
continually and maintaining the life of those bodies employed in
instruction.

I am not speaking of the sciences, then entirely unknown. The
languages were every thing at this period, on account of their
connexion with religion.

The small number of men of merit whom the bad taste of the age had
not reached, were striving to restore to literature its lustre, and
to men's minds their true direction; but, in order to revive the
taste for good studies, it was necessary to create a new
establishment for public instruction, which should be sufficiently
extensive for acquiring a great influence. It was necessary to
assemble men the most celebrated for their talent and reputation, in
order that, being thus placed in full view, and presented to public
attention, they might rectify the minds of men by their authority, as
well as enlighten them by their knowledge.

This undertaking, difficult in itself, became much less so through
the circumstances which then existed. Taste seemed to have taken
refuge at the court, and the king easily yielded to the reasons of
the learned who approached him; but no one took a greater share in
this project than the celebrated Erasmus. Remote from it as he was,
he accelerated its execution by the disinterested praises which he
lavished on it. The king sent to invite him, in the most flattering
terms, to take the direction of it and to settle in France; but
Erasmus, jealous of liberty, retained besides by the gratitude he
owed to Charles V, and by the care he bestowed on the College of
Louvain which he had founded, refused this task, equally honourable
and useful. He manifested not the less, in his letters, the joy he
felt to see studies re-established by the only means which could
reanimate them. It is pleasing to the true friends of the sciences to
find among those who cultivate them similar traits of generosity and
nobleness.

At length peace having restored to France repose and the means of
repairing her losses, the king gave himself up without reserve to the
desire he had of making the sciences flourish, and realized the grand
project of public instruction which had for a long time occupied his
mind. The new college took the name of _College Royal_. It had
professors for the Hebrew and Greek tongues, and some even for the
mathematics, philosophy, medicine, and the living languages.

The formation of the _College Royal_ gave great displeasure to the
University. After having held so long without a rival the sceptre of
the sciences and literature, it was grating to its members to
relinquish it. They could ill bear to see set above it an
establishment evidently intended to direct and guide it. Self-love
offended seldom forgives, especially when it is animated by the
_esprit de corps_. The University depreciated the new college, and
endeavoured to fetter it in a thousand ways. At last, those dark
intrigues being constantly smothered by the applause which the
professors received, the University finished by bringing them before
a court of justice. From, envy to persecution there is but one step,
and that step was soon taken.

Religion served as a pretext and a cloak for this accusation. It was
affirmed that the new professors could not, without danger to the
faith, explain the Hebrew and Greek tongues, if they had not been
presented to the University to be examined by it, and received from
it their mission. To this it was answered, that if the theologians of
the University understood Greek and Hebrew, it must be easy for them
to denounce the passages in which the new professors had erred, and
that if, on the contrary, they did not understand those languages,
they ought not to pretend to judge those who taught them. After long
debates, things were left in the state in which they were before the
trial. Each party continued quietly its lessons, and, as it almost
always happens in such cases, reason ended by having its due weight:
true it is that it was then supported by royal authority.

The _College de France_ has not since ceased to make an increasing
progress. It even had the valuable advantage of reforming itself
successively, and of following new ideas, the necessary result of its
constitution and of the lustre that has always surrounded it; two
causes which have occasioned its chairs to be sought by the most
celebrated men of every description. It is this successive reform
which constitutes the distinctive character of the _College de
France_, and which has always enabled it to fulfil its real object.

Thus, to quote but one example. The chair of Greek philosophy was, in
the beginning, intended to make known the writings of the ancient
philosophers on the nature of things and the organization of the
universe. These were, at that time, the only repositories of human
knowledge for mathematics and physics; but, in proportion as the
sciences, more advanced, substituted rational theories for hazardous
conjectures, the modern discoveries of astronomy were taught,
together with the writings of the ancients. The object of this chair,
which at the present day bears the name of general physics and
mathematics, is to disseminate the most elevated notions of mechanics
and the theory of the system of the world. The works taught by its
occupier are analytical mechanics and celestial mechanics, that is,
those works which form the limits of our knowledge for mathematical
analysis, and consequently those of which it is most important to
increase the very small number of readers.

By a consequence of that spirit of amelioration which animates this
College, some time before the revolution, a chair and a cabinet of
experimental physics were added to it.

As for the natural sciences, which are taught here with much depth
and detail in several establishments, they have, in the _College de
France_, a sort of regulator which directs them, as it were, by their
generalities. It is, in fact, to this only that an establishment
which, by its nature, contains no collection, ought to attach itself,
and the philosophy of the sciences, the result and completion of
their study, here constitutes the object of all the lectures.

Thus the improvements which the sciences have successively
experienced, have always been spread by the instruction of the
_College Royal_; and among the professors who have occupied its
chairs, none can be quoted who have been strangers to their progress.

The revolution, which overthrew in France the ancient universities,
suspended for some time the exercises of this establishment; but,
under the name of _College de France_, it has since resumed a new
lustre. It then found itself compelled to new efforts, in order to
maintain its place among the scientific institutions, which have
emulously risen in every branch of human knowledge. Nevertheless,
those different sciences, even natural history, and the curative art,
taught with so much perfection in private establishments, have hence
derived great advantages, and here it is that public instruction
comes at once to be resumed, investigated, and extended.

The present government appears to be perfectly sensible of the
importance of such an establishment. The enlightened men, the
celebrated _savans_, who approach it, have pointed out in the
_College de France_ a _normal_ school, completely formed, and which
unites to the extent of its object the ever-powerful ascendant of
seniority. The similarity between the circumstances in which this
institution is at the present day and those when it was founded,
affords the most certain hope of its progress being maintained and
accelerated.

This is what appears to me the most interesting in the history of
this ancient college. I say nothing of its present professors; their
zeal is proved by their assiduous and uninterrupted lessons; their
merit is before the judgment of the public; and as for their names,
these are indifferent to the results of their labours. If any other
motive than that of the interest of the sciences were blended with
the information I now communicate, I should not think that, in this
letter, I was fulfilling the object of your wishes.

P.S. It may not be useless to mention that no students are attached
to the _College de France_. The lectures are public; and every one
who is desirous of improving his mind in any branch of science, may
attend them free of expense or trouble. It is impossible for the
friend of learning to withhold his admiration from so noble an
institution. What, in fact, can be more liberal than this gratuitous
diffusion of knowledge?

[Footnote 1: Whatever sentiment may have been preserved respecting
the ancient University of Paris, every impartial person must
acknowledge that it was several centuries in arrear in regard to
every thing which concerns the Arts and Sciences. Peripatetic, when
the learned had, with Descartes, renounced the philosophy of
Aristotle, it became Cartesian, when they were Newtonians. Such is
the too general custom of bodies, engaged in instruction, who make no
discoveries. Invested at their formation with great influence over
scientific opinions, because they are composed of the best informed
men of the day, they wish constantly to preserve those advantages.
They with reluctance suffer that there should be formed, elsewhere
than in their own bosom, new opinions which might balance theirs; and
if the progress of the sciences at last obliges them to abandon their
doctrine, they never adopt the most modern theories, were they, in
other respects, preferable; but embrace those which existed for some
time anterior to them, and which they themselves had before combated.
This inertness of bodies, employed in instruction, is an unavoidable
evil; because it is the effect of self-love, the most invariable of
passions.]



LETTER LVIII.

_Paris, January 17, 1802._

If we do not consider the _Opera Buffa_ as a national theatre, then
the next in rank, after the Grand French Opera and the _Theatre
Francais_, is the

THEATRE DE L'OPERA COMIQUE.

This house, which is situated in the _Rue Feydeau_, near the _Rue de
la Loi_, was opened for the first time in January 1791. The entrance
to it is by a circular vestibule, externally decorated with
caryatides, and sufficiently spacious for one carriage to enter while
another drives off by an adjoining outlet. At the end of this
vestibule is a long gallery, bordered by shops on both sides, which
forms a second entrance by the _Rue Filles St. Thomas_.

The interior form of this theatre is a semi-circle, extended in a
right line at its extremities, which places the orchestra in a
central position, and renders the house one of the fittest in Paris
for a concert. Two rows of Gothic pillars, one above the other,
occupy nearly all its height; and though it contains eight tiers of
boxes, five only are in sight. The same distribution repeated in
regard to the stage-boxes, presents a very projecting pavilion, which
seems to support a large triumphal arch. However grand this style of
architecture may be in appearance, in effect it renders the seats
very inconvenient to two-thirds of the spectators. The ornaments
consist of a strange mixture of the Greek, Gothic, and Oriental. The
house is said to contain two thousand persons.

In the beginning, this theatre united the performers of the original
_Opera Buffa_ and some of those belonging to the old French Comic
Opera, who played alternately. The former retiring from Paris in
1792, the latter for some time attracted full houses by the
excellence of their style of singing, tasteful decorations, and one
of the best composed orchestras in the capital.

Since then, it has experienced the changes and vicissitudes attendant
on the revolution. At present, the company is composed of a selection
from the performers of the _Opera Comique_ of the _Theatre Favart_
(formerly known by the name of _Theatre Italien_), and those of the
lyric theatre of which I am now speaking. This junction has not long
been effected. Previously to its taking place, the _Comedie
Italienne_, where French comic operas only were represented, was
still constituted as it was under the old _regime_, of which it was
remarked as being the sole remnant.

Formerly, the French Comic Opera was very rich in stock-pieces,
chiefly written by FAVART, SEDAINE, MARMONTEL, HELE,[1] MONVEL,
MARSOLIER, HOFFMAN, and others. Their productions were set to music
by GRETRY, MONSIGNY, PHILIDOR, DESAIDES, DALEYRAC, &c. These pieces
are now seldom played, the music of them being antiquated; though for
energy and truth of expression some of it surpasses that of many of
the more modern compositions. The new authors are little known. The
composers of the music are MEHUL, DALEYRAC before-mentioned,
BOYELDIEU, TARCHI, &c. The modern pieces the most in vogue and most
attractive are _Le Prisonnier_, _l'Opera Comique_, a piece so called,
_Le Calife de Bagdad_, _Maison a vendre_, _D'Auberge en Auberge_, and
a few others of the same description. All these are really pleasing
comedies.

The _Theatre Feydeau_ itself was also in possession of a great number
of stock-pieces, among which were some in the style of the Grand
French Opera. A considerable change seems to have taken place, as the
latter are now no longer represented.

In surveying the _Opera Comique_, one would imagine that, in lieu of
one company, two separate ones had been formed to play in the same
theatre. The former is the weaker in number, but the stronger in
talent. The latter, though weaker, has some good performers, in the
long list of those of whom it is composed; but, in general, they are
either no longer in their pristine lustre, or have not yet attained a
competent degree of perfection.

Seldom are the two companies mixed. Pieces in the style of the modern
_Opera Comique_, in which easy mirth is replaced by quaint jests, are
played exclusively by the former. They draw crowded houses, as the
public are extremely partial to them. Lyric _drames_ are abandoned to
the latter, and the old stock-pieces to such of the performers as
choose to act in them for a small number of spectators who are so
obliging as to enter the house with _orders_ or _free_ admission. OF
all the repositories of old pieces that of the _Comedie Italienne_ is
the one which is the most entirely neglected. This is rather the
fault of the actors than that of the public. There are many old
productions which would attract a crowd, were the best performers to
play them; but who likes to pay for seeing a master-piece murdered?
--We now come to speak of the qualifications of these performers.


_Principal Characters and parts of Lovers._

Counter-Tenors.

ELLEVIOU, GAVAUDAN, PHILIPPE, and GAVEAUX.

ELLEVIOU. He is the first singer at the _Opera Comique_. Nor will
this opinion be contradicted by any of the elegant and pretty women
who, slaves to the custom of shewing themselves at the first
representation of a new piece, never begin to applaud till ELLEVIOU
makes his appearance.

This performer is, in fact, gifted with a handsome person, an easy
manner, an expressive countenance, and a voice, which, when he
modulates it, is charming. His delivery is tolerably good, and in
some parts, he is not deficient in warmth and feeling. As a singer,
ELLEVIOU leaves behind all those destined to second him. After having
begun by singing bass, he has taken the parts of counter-tenor, for
which, however, his voice is not suited, but he makes up for this
deficiency by a very flexible tenor. He displays much art and a very
modern taste. His method too is good; he makes no improper use of his
facility by lavishing graces, but his manner is too uniform. This is
the greatest objection that can be made to him, in the double
capacity of singer and comedian.

GAVAUDAN. This young actor, with a well-proportioned stature and a
very agreeable countenance, ranks, at the _Opera Comique_, next in
merit to ELLEVIOU. His voice, as a counter-tenor, is not very
brilliant, nor his means extensive; but his taste is good, and his
method that of the modern school. As a player, he has a certain
repution in lyric _drames_, and especially in those melancholy parts,
the characteristic of which is a concentrated passion. He imitates
TALMA, and, like him, "outsteps the modesty of Nature."

PHILIPPE. His reputation was begun by the advantages of his person,
and he consolidated it by his performance in the line of
knight-errantry. _Richard, coeur de lion_, was the part which
secured him the public favour. His voice is still an agreeable
counter-tenor; but he declines through age. As an actor, he is
deficient in nobleness, and his gestures are not dignified; but,
being used to the stage, and possessing some feeling, he often
produces happy effects.

GAVEAUX. He has been a good singer in his youth, and is a very
agreeable composer. He always acquits himself of any part he
undertakes, if not in a brilliant manner, at least with credit. Two
of his musical productions are stock-pieces, and well worth seeing.
_L'Amour Filial_ is a happy imitation of the Italian school, and
_Sophie et Moncars_ is always heard with pleasure.


_Characters of Fathers, Valets, or Comic Parts_.

Bass-voices.

CHENARD, MARTIN, REZICOURT, JULIET, and MOREAU.

CHENARD. Owing to an advantageous person, this actor once stood as
high in the favour of the ladies as ELLEVIOU does at present. He
still possesses a fine voice, as a bass, but it is not very flexible.
In the part of _Monsieur de la France_, in _l'Epreuve Villageoise_,
he established his fame as a singer; yet his style is not
sufficiently modelled after the modern taste, which is the Italian.
As an actor, he is very useful; but, having always been treated by
the public like a spoiled child, he is too apt to introduce his own
sallies into his parts, which he sometimes charges with vulgarisms of
the lowest description.

MARTIN. In the parts of valets, MARTIN cannot be better placed than
near ELLEVIOU, whom he seconds with skill and taste. This has led the
composers here to an innovation. Formerly, duets in the graceful
style between men were seldom heard; but the voices of ELLEVIOU and
MARTIN being perfectly adapted to each other, almost all the
composers have written for them duets in which the _cantabile_
prevails, and concerted cadences are very conspicuous. This, I
understand, is unprecedented in Paris.

MARTIN made his _debut_ in 1783 at the _Theatre de Monsieur_ in the
company of Italian buffoons. In this school he acquired that taste
which he has since propagated with zeal, if not with success. At the
present day, he is accused of loading his singing with superfluous
embellishments, or of placing them without judgment in passages or
situations where they are ill-suited. However, in _morceaux
d'ensemble_ he is quite at home, and, of course, shews himself to
great advantage. As an actor, he is by no means remarkable, though he
sometimes displays intelligence.

REZICOURT. He may justly be called a good comedian, without examining
his merits as a singer.

JULIET. In the newspapers, this performer is called _inimitable_. His
manner is his own; yet, perhaps, it would be very dangerous to advise
any one to imitate it. He is not deficient in intelligence, and has
the habit of the stage; but his first quality is to be extremely
natural, particularly in the parts of Peasants, which he performs
with much truth. He seems to be born a player, and though he is not a
musician, he always sings in tune and in time.

MOREAU. An agreeable person, open countenance, animation, an
ingenuous manner, and an unerring memory. He is very well placed in
young Peasants, such as _Le Bon Andre_ and _Lubin_ of FAVART, as well
as in the parts of Valets.


_Mixed characters of every sort_.--Tenors.

SOLIE, and ST. AUBIN.

SOLIE. He first appeared in the parts of young lovers with a tall
stature and a handsome face, but neither of them being fashioned for
such characters, he met with no applause. His voice was not very
brilliant, but his method of singing was replete with grace and
taste. For this, however, he obtained no credit; the Parisian public
not being yet accustomed to the modern or Italian style. CLAIRVAL,
the first singer at the old _Opera Comique_, happening to be taken
suddenly ill one night, SOLIE undertook his part at a moment's
warning. Success crowned his temerity, and from that moment his merit
was appreciated. His best character is _Micheli_ in _Les deux
Savoyards_, in which he established his reputation. In the pieces of
which MEHUL has composed the music, he shines by the finished manner
in which he executes it; the _cantabile_ is his fort. As an actor,
his declamation is not natural, and his deportment is too much that
of a mannerist. However, these defects are compensated by his
singing. To the music of others, he does every justice, and that
which he composes himself is extremely agreeable.

ST. AUBIN. This performer once had a good voice as a counter-tenor;
but as he now plays no other than secondary parts, one might imagine
that he is retained at the theatre only in consideration of his
wife's talents.


_Caricatures and Simpletons_.

DOZAINVILLE, and LESAGE.

DOZAINVILLE. The person of this actor is very favourable for
caricatures and the characters of simpletons, which he fills. The
meagreness of his countenance renders it very flexible; but not
unfrequently he carries this flexibility to grimace. As a singer, he
must not be mentioned.

LESAGE. He is a musician, but has little voice. He performs the parts
of simple peasants in a natural manner, but with too much uniformity.
This is is a general defect attached to those characters.--Let me
next introduce the female performers.


_First female Singers and Parts of Lovers_.

Mesdames ST. AUBIN, SCIO, LESAGE, CRETU,
PHILIS the elder, GAVAUDAN, and PINGENET.

Madame ST. AUBIN. She is a capital actress, though chiefly in the
parts of young girls; yet she is the main pillar of the _Opera
Comique_. She never has been handsome, at least when closely viewed,
and is now on the wane, being turned of forty-five; but her graceful
little figure and delicate features make her appear pretty on the
stage. Neatness and _naivete_ characterise her acting. She has
scarcely any voice, but no other songs than romances or ballads are
assigned to her. She formerly played at the Grand French Opera, where
she was applauded in noble and impassioned parts, though they are
not, in general, suited to her manner. But an actress, high in favour
with the public, is always applauded in whatever character she
appears. The pieces in which Madame ST. AUBIN excels are _Le
Prisonnier, Adolphe et Clara_, and _L'Opera Comique_, which is the
title of a piece, as I have already mentioned.

Madame SCIO. Although she is said not to be well versed in music, she
has a very extensive and powerful voice, but its tones have little
variety. As an actress, she is very indifferent. Without being mean,
she has no nobleness of manner. Like almost all the performers
belonging to the _Opera Comique_, she delivers ill the dialogue, or
such sentences as are not set to music. As she frequently strains her
acting, persons deficient in taste are pleased to bestow on her the
epithet of _great_ as an actress. However, she played _Medee_ in a
lyric tragedy of that name; but such a Medea was never seen! As a
singer, Madame Scio is a valuable acquisition to this theatre. In
point of person, she is neither ordinary nor handsome.

Mademoiselle LESAGE. Her singing is chaste, but destitute of that
musical energy which distinguishes great singers. She plays _les
ingenuites_ or innocent characters; but is rather a mannerist,
instead of being childish. She then employs a false voice, not at all
suited to this line of acting, in which every thing should be
natural.

Madame CRETU. This actress came to Paris from Bourdeaux, preceded by
a great reputation. She has been handsome: a clear voice, a good
method of singing, a becoming manner of acting, insured her success.
She is very useful at this theatre, in pieces where the _vis comica_
does not predominate.

Mademoiselle PHILIS the elder. This is a pretty pupil of the famous
GARAT. She has a clear pipe, a charming countenance, a quick eye, an
agreeable person, and some taste. She possesses as much merit as an
actress as a singer.[2]

Madame GAVAUDAN. She is admired for her pretty person, pretty voice,
and pretty carriage. No wonder then that she has greatly contributed
to the success of the little pieces in the style of _Vaudeville_,
which have been performed at this theatre.

Mesdemoiselles PINGENET. These two sisters are nothing as actresses;
but seem to aspire to the title of singers, especially the elder, who
begins to distinguish herself.


_Noble Mothers and Duennas_.

Mesdames DUGAZON, PHILIPPE, and GONTHIER.

Madame DUGAZON. Twenty years ago she enjoyed a great name, for which
she was indebted to the bad taste that then prevailed. With large
prominent eyes, and a broad flat nose, she could not be really
handsome; but she had a very animated countenance. In lyric _drames_,
she personated country-girls, chambermaids, and princesses. In the
first-named cast of parts, she had an ingenuous, open, but rustic
manner. She played chambermaids in a style bordering on effrontery.
Lastly, she represented princesses, but without any dignity, and also
women bereft of their reason. The part in which she had the most
vogue was that of _Nina_ in _La Folle par amour_. Her madness,
however, appeared not to be occasioned by the sensibility of her
heart. It was too much inclined to the sentimental cast of Sterne's
Maria.

Madame DUGAZON, who ought to have been in possession of a
considerable fortune, from the vast sums of money lavished on her by
Englishmen, is at this day reduced to perform the parts of mothers,
in which she acquits herself so as to deserve neither praise nor
censure.

Madame PHILIPPE. Under the name of DESFORGES, she shone formerly in
the part of _Marguerite_ in _Richard, coeur de lion_. Without being a
superior singer, she executes her songs with feeling.

Madame GONTHIER. This actress still enjoys the benefit of her former
reputation. She is excellent in a cast of parts become hacknied on
the stage; namely, gossips and nurses.

I have said nothing of the _doubles_ or duplicates of all these
ladies, as they are, in general, bad copies of the originals.

The choruses of the _Opera Comique_ are not very numerous, and have
not the strength and correctness which distinguish those of the Grand
French Opera. Nor could this be expected. The orchestra has been
lately recomposed, and at present consists of a selection of
excellent performers. The scenery, decorations, and dresses are
deserving of commendation.

[Footnote 1: Or HALE, an Englishman, who wrote _Le Jugement de
Midas_, _l'Amant Jaloux_, and _Les Evenemens Imprevus_, pretty lyric
comedies, especially the last. Notwithstanding the success of his
pieces, this author is said to have died in the greatest distress.]

[Footnote 2: Not long since she set off for Russia, without apprizing
any one of her intention.]

[Footnote 3: The commissioner, appointed by the government to
superintend the proceedings of this theatre, has since been replaced
by a _Prefect of the Palace_, whose authority is much the same as
that exercised when each of the principal theatres in Paris was under
the inspection of a _Lord of the Bedchamber_.]



LETTER LIX.

_Paris, January 29, 1802._

Whenever the pen of an impartial writer shall trace the history of
the French revolution, through all its accompanying vicissitudes, it
will be seen that this country owed its salvation to the _savans_ or
men of science. The arts and sciences, which were revived by their
zeal and courage, united with unceasing activity to pave the way to
victories abroad, and repair mischiefs at home. Nor can it be denied,
that every thing which genius, labour, and perseverance could create,
in point of resources, was employed in such a manner that France was
enabled, by land, to make head against almost all Europe, and supply
her own wants, as long as the war lasted.

The _savans_ who had effected such great things, for some time
enjoyed unlimited influence. It was well known that to them the
Republic was indebted for its safety and very existence. They availed
themselves of this favourable moment for insuring to France that
superiority of knowledge which had caused her to triumph over her
enemies. Such was the origin of the

POLYTECHNIC SCHOOL.

This establishment had a triple object; namely, to form engineers for
the different services; to spread in civil society enlightened men,
and to excite talents which might promote the sciences. Nothing was
neglected that could tend to the accomplishment of a destination so
important.

It was, in fact, time to reorganize the instruction of corps destined
for public services, the greater part of which were wholly deficient
in this respect. Some of them, it is true, had particular schools;
but instruction there was feeble and incomplete. That for military
engineers at _Mezieres_, the best conducted of all, and which
admitted twenty pupils only, had suspended its exercises, in
consequence of the revolution. Necessity had occasioned the formation
of a provisionary school, where the pupils received rapidly the first
notions of the attack and defence of places, after which they were
sent to the armies.

Such institutions neither answered the exigencies of the State, nor
conduced to its glory. Their weakness was, above all, likely to be
felt by men habituated to general ideas, and whose minds were still
more exalted, and views enlarged, by the revolution. Those men wished
that the new _School for Public Works_ should be worthy of the
nation. Their plan was extensive in its object, but simple in its
execution, and certain in its results.

The first law concerning the _Central School for Public Works_, since
called the _Polytechnic School_, was made on the 20th of Ventose year
II. (10th of March 1794). From that moment, much zeal was manifested
in making the necessary arrangements for its formation. On the report
made to the National Convention respecting the measures taken on this
subject, on the 7th of Vendemiaire year III (28th of September 1794)
a decree was passed, directing a competition to be opened for the
admission of four hundred pupils into this school. The examination
was appointed to take place in twenty-two of the principal towns. The
candidates were to answer in arithmetic and the elements of algebra
and geometry. Those admitted received the allowance of military
officers for their travelling expenses to Paris. They were to have
annually twelve hundred francs, and to remain in the school three
years, after which they were to be called to the different Public
Services, when they were judged capable of performing them; and
priority was to depend on merit. These services were the duty of
military engineers, naval engineers, or ship-builders, artillerists,
both military and naval, engineers of bridges and highways,
geographical engineers, and engineers of mines, and to them were
added the service of the pupils of the school of aerostation, which
GUYTON MORVEAU had caused to be established at Meudon, for the
purpose of forming the aerostatic company destined for manoeuvring
air-balloons, applied to the art of war, as was seen at _Maubeuge_,
_Fleurus_, _Aix-la-Chapelle_, &c.

However, the conception of this project was far more easy than its
execution. It was doing little to choose professors from among the
first men of science in Europe, if their lessons were not fixed in
the mind of the pupils. Being unable to communicate them to each
pupil in private, they stood in need of agents who should transmit
them to this numerous assemblage of youth, and be, as it were, the
nerves of the body. To form these was the first object.

Among the young men who had presented themselves at the competition,
twenty of the most distinguished were selected. Philosophical
instruments and a chemical laboratory were provided for them, and
they were unremittingly exercised in every part of the plan which it
was resolved to execute. These pupils, the greater part of whom had
come from the schools for Public Service, felt the insufficiency of
the instruction which they had there received. Eager to learn, their
mind became inflamed by the presence of the celebrated men who were
incessantly with them. The days sufficed not for their zeal; and in
three months they were capable of discharging the functions for which
they were intended.

Nor was this all. At a time when opinion and power might change from
one moment to another, much risk was incurred if a definitive form
was not at once given to the _Polytechnic School_. The authors of
this vast project had seen the revolution too near not to be sensible
of that truth. But they wished first, by a trial made on a grand
scale, to insure their method, class the pupils, and shew what might
be expected from them. They therefore developed to them, in rapid
lectures, the general plan of instruction.

This plan had been drawn up agreeably to the views of men the best
informed, amongst whom MONGE must be particularly mentioned. He had
been professor at _Mezieres_, and had there given the first lessons
of descriptive geometry, that science so useful to the engineer. The
enumeration of the various parts of instruction was reduced to a
table, printed by order of the Committee of Public Safety. It
comprehends mathematics, analysis applied to descriptive geometry and
to the mechanism of solids and fluids, stereotomy, drawing, civil
architecture, fortification, general physics, chymistry, mineralogy,
and their application to the arts.

In three months, the work of three years was explained. A real
enthusiasm was excited in these youths on finding themselves occupied
by the sublimest ideas which had employed the mind of man. Amidst the
divisions and animosities of political party, it was an interesting
sight, to behold four hundred young men, full of confidence and
friendship, listening with profound attention to the lectures of the
celebrated _savans_ who had been spared by the guillotine.

The results of so great an experiment surpassed the most sanguine
expectations. After this preliminary instruction, the pupils were
divided into brigades, and education took the course it was intended
should follow.

What particularly distinguishes this establishment, is that the
pupils not only receive oral lessons, but they must give in written
solutions, present drawings, models, or plans for the different
parts, and themselves operate in the laboratories.


On the 1st of Germinal year III (22d of March 1795) the annual
courses were commenced. They were then distributed for three years,
but at this day they last two only. At the same time a decree was
passed, regulating the number of professors, adjuncts, ushers, the
holding of the meetings of the council of instruction and
administration, the functions of the director, administrator,
inspector of the studies, secretary of the council, librarian,
keepers of the collection of drawings, models, &c.

Since that epoch, the _Polytechnic School_, often attacked, even in
the discussions of the _Legislative Body_, has maintained its ground
by the impression of the reputation of the men who act there as
professors, of the depth of the knowledge which makes the object of
their lessons, and of the youths of superior talent who issue from it
every year. The law which after many adjournments, has fixed its
existence is dated the 25th of Frimaire year VIII (16th of December
1799.)

The most important changes introduced, are the determination of the
age to be received into this school, which is from sixteen to twenty,
the reduction of the pupils to the number of three hundred, the rank
which is given them of serjeant of artillery of the first class,
their pay fixed on the same footing, together with a fund of
assistance for those labouring under difficulties, the obligation to
wear a uniform, the establishment of a council of improvement,
composed of three members of the National Institute, of examiners, of
a general-officer or superior agent of each of the branches of the
Public Service, of the director, and four commissioners taken from
the council of instruction.

This council assembles every year, inquires into the state of the
school, proposes its views of amelioration, respecting every
department, and makes a report to the government. One of its
principal functions is to harmonise the instruction with that of the
Schools of Engineers, Artillery, &c. into which the pupils enter
after the final examination they undergo previously to their
departure.

After this, to judge of the advantages of the _Polytechnic School_,
it is sufficient to cast an eye on the printed reports, which present
an account of the persons it furnishes to the different services, of
those who have been taken from it for the expedition to Egypt, for
the corps of _aspirans de la marine_ or midshipmen, for entering into
the line vith the rank of officers, or into the department of
commissaries of war, (into which they are admitted after their
examination if no places are vacant in the Schools for Public
Service), of those who have been called on to profess the sciences in
the central schools (Lyceums) of the departments, some to fill the
first professors' chairs in Paris, such as at the _College de France_
and the _Ecole Polytechnique_, of those, in short, who have quitted
this school to introduce into the manufactories the knowledge which
they had acquired. The last-mentioned circumstance has always been a
consideration for carrying the number of pupils beyond the presumable
wants of the different Public Services.

You see that this is no more than a summary  of what might be said
and collected from the journals of the _Polytechnic School_, (which
already form four volumes in 4to. independently of the classic works
published by the professors), for giving a complete history of this
interesting establishment, which attracts the notice of foreigners of
all nations. BONAPARTE takes no small interest in the labours of the
_Polytechnic School_, and has often said that it would be difficult
to calculate the effects of the impulse which it has given towards
the mathematical sciences, and of the aggregate of the knowledge
imparted to the pupils.

The _Polytechnic School_, which is under the authority of the
Minister of the Interior, occupies an extensive range of building,
formerly known by the name of _Le petit Palais Bourbon, contiguous to
the _Palais du Corps Legislatif_. The different apartments contain
every thing necessary for the elucidation of the arts and sciences
here taught; but the pupils reside not at the school: they lodge and
board with their friends, on the salary allowed them by the nation,
and repair thither only for the prosecution of their studies.



LETTER LX.

_Paris, January 30, 1802._

To judge from the records of the Old Bailey, one would conclude that,
in proportion to the number of its inhabitants, London must contain a
greater number of dishonest persons of both sexes than any metropolis
in Europe. But, though more notorious thieves and daring robbers may
perhaps, be found in London than in many other great cities, yet I
will venture to affirm that Paris contains more

PICKPOCKETS AND SHARPERS.

However superior too our rogues may be in boldness, I apprehend that,
in dexterity, they are far inferior to those to be met with among our
neighbours. To elude a more vigilant inspection, the latter are
compelled to exert more art and cunning. In this dissipated capital,
which is a grand theatre where they can display all their talent, and
find a greater number of dupes, adventurers and swindlers of every
description have long been famous; but it should seem that the
females here of that stamp deserve to be no less celebrated.

Not many years ago, I heard of an English lady of quality being
detected in the very act of secreting a quantity of valuable lace, to
which she had taken a particular fancy at a great haberdasher's in
Pall-Mall. It was said that she endeavoured to exculpate herself for
this inadvertency on the ground of being in a pregnant state, which
had produced an irrisistible longing. However this may be, she might
here have got a lesson, as will appear from the following instance of
ingenuity very lately practised by one of her own sex.

In the _ci-devant Palais Royal_, a haberdasher of note keeps a shop
where the highest-priced articles of female wear are exhibited,
immediately on coming from the hands of the manufacturer or inventor.

The other day, a lady somewhat turned of thirty, of genteel
appearance and engaging address, entered this shop, and asked to see
some white lace veils. Several were shewn to her at the price of from
twenty-five to fifty louis each. These not being sufficiently rich to
please her taste, others more costly were produced, and she fixed on
one of eighty louis in value. Standing before a glass, she
immediately put on this veil _a la religieuse_, that is, in the form
of the hood of a nun's dress. Then taking from her bosom her little
purse, she found it to contain no more than twenty louis in
bankpaper, which she paid to the haberdasher as a deposit for the
veil, at the same time desiring him to send one of his men with her
to her _homme d'affaires_ or agent, in order that he might bring back
the other sixty.

As a Parisian tradesman is always extremely glad to get rid of his
goods, she had no difficulty in carrying her point; and, having
selected from among the shopmen a shamefaced youth of eighteen, took
him with her in the hackney-coach which she had kept in waiting. She
gave the coachman her orders, and away he drove to a famous
apothecary's, in the _Rue St. Honore_. "This," said she to the
shopman, "is the residence of my _homme d'affaires_: follow me, and
you shall have your money." She accordingly alighted, and, after
saying a few words in the ear of the doctor, on whose credulity she
had already exercised her genius, desired him to take the young man
to his private room, and settle the business, while she remained to
chat with his wife.

The unsuspecting youth, seeing the lady on such terms of intimacy in
the family, made no hesitation to follow the doctor to a
back-parlour, where, to his extreme surprise, he was closely
questioned as to his present state of health, and the rise and
progress of the disorder which he had caught through his own
imprudence. The more he denied the circumstance, the more the
doctor persisted in his endeavours to procure ocular demonstration.
The latter had previously locked the door, having been apprized by
the lady that her son was exceedingly bashful, and that stratagem,
and even a certain degree of violence, perhaps, must be employed
to obtain evidence of a complaint, which, as it injured her
_dear boy's_ constitution, disturbed her own happiness and peace
of mind. The doctor was proceeding to act on this information,
when the young shopman, finding his retreat cut off, vociferously
demanded the sixty louis which he was come to receive in payment
for the veil. "Sixty louis in payment for a veil!" re-echoed the
doctor. "Your mother begged me to examine you for a complaint which
you have inconsiderately contracted in the pursuit of pleasure." The
_denouement_ now taking place, the two dupes hastened back to the
shop, when they found that the lady had decamped, having previously
discharged the coach, in order that she might not be traced by the
number.

The art of purloining a watch, a snuff-box, or a purse, unperceived
by the owner, may, no doubt, be acquired by constant practice, till
the novice becomes expert in his profession: but the admirable
presence of mind displayed by Parisian sharpers must, in a great
measure, be inherited from nature. What can well surpass an example
of this kind mentioned by a celebrated French writer?

A certain person who had been to receive a sum of money at a
banker's, was returning home with it in a hired carriage. The
coachman, not remembering the name of the street whither he had been
ordered to drive, got off his box, and opened the coach-door to ask
it. He found the person dead and cold. At his first exclamation,
several people collected. A sharper who was passing by, suddenly
forced his way through the crowd, and, in a lamentable and pathetic
voice, called out: "'Tis my father! What a miserable wretch am I!"
Then, exhibiting every mark of the most poignant grief, he got into
the coach, and, crying and sobbing, kissed the dead man's face. The
bystanders were affected, and dispersed, saying, one to another,
"What an affectionate son!" The sharper drove on in the coach, where
he found the bags of money, which were an unexpected booty, and,
stopping it at a door, told the coachman that he wished to apprize
his sister of the melancholy accident that had just happened. He
alighted, and shut the coach-door, leaving the corpse as naked as it
came into the world. The coachman, having waited a long time,
inquired in vain at the house for the young man and his sister; no
one had any knowledge of her, him, or the deceased.

I remember when I was last in Paris, at the beginning of the
revolution, being shewn a silversmith's shop, whence a few articles
having been stolen, the master was induced to examine in what manner
the thieves gained admittance. Discovering an aperture where he
conjectured that a man's hand might be introduced, he prepared a
noose with a proper cord, and remained in waiting the following night
to see if they would repeat their visit. At a late hour, when all was
quiet, he perceived a man's hand thrust through the aperture;
instantly he drew tight the noose, and thought he had effectually
secured the culprit; but he was mistaken. The fellow's accomplices,
fearing that the apprehension of one of them would lead to the
discovery of all, on finding it impossible to extricate him by any
other means, cut off his wrist. When the patrole arrived at the spot,
on the call of the silversmith, he was not a little astonished to
find that his prisoner had escaped, though with the loss of a hand,
which remained fast in the noose.

With respect to these more daring classes of rogues, every year
almost produces some new race of them. Since the revolution, the
criminal code having condemned to death none but those guilty of
murder, housebreakers, to avoid the penalty of the law, had recourse
to a practice, which put the persons whom they subjected to it to the
most severe pain. This was to hold their feet to the fire till they
declared where all their moveable property was to be found. Hence
these villains obtained the name of _chauffeurs_. Notwithstanding the
vigilance of the Police, they still occasionally exercise their
cruelties in some of the departments, as may be seen by the
proceedings of the criminal tribunals. I have also heard of another
species of assassins, who trained blood-hounds to seize a man by the
throat in certain solitary places, and then came afterwards, and
plundered him at their ease. When apprehended, they coolly said: "We
did not kill the man, but found him dead."

As in former times, all sentences passed on criminals, tried in
Paris, whether condemned to die or not, are put into execution on the

PLACE DE GREVE.

The first sentence executed here was that passed on _Marguerite
Porette_, a female heretic, who was burnt alive in the year 1310.

Among the punishments which it has been found necessary to
re-establish is that of marking with a hot iron. Criminals, condemned
to imprisonment in irons, are exposed for two hours on a scaffold in
the middle of this square. They are seated and tied to a post, having
above them a label with the words of their sentence. They are clad in
woollen pantaloons and a waistcoat with sleeves, one half of each of
which is white; the other, brown. After being exposed two hours, they
are stripped, and to their shoulder is applied a hot iron, which
there leaves the impression of the letter V, for _voleur_, thief.
Women, not being condemned to imprisonment in irons; are exempt from
the penalty of being marked. This punishment is said to produce
considerable effect on the culprits, as well as on the spectators.
Previously to its being revived, persons convicted of thieving were
insolent beyond all endurance.

The _Place de Greve_ is a parallelogram, one of the long sides of
which is occupied by the _ci-devant Hotel de Ville_, a tasteless
edifice, begun in 1533, but not finished till 1605.

Before the revolution, the _Place de Greve_ was alternately the
theatre of punishments and rejoicings. On the same pavement, where
scaffolds were erected for the execution of criminals, rose superb
edifices for public festivals.

Here, when any criminal of note was to suffer, the occupiers of the
adjoining houses made a rich harvest by letting their apartments.
Every window that commanded a view of the horrid scene, was then
hired at a most exorbitant price. Women of the first rank and
fashion, decked in all the luxury of dress, graced even the uppermost
stories. These weak-nerved females, who would have fainted at the
sight of a spider mangling a fly, stood crowded together, calmly
viewing the agonies of an expiring malefactor, who, after having been
racked on the wheel, was, perhaps, denied the _coup de grace_ which
would, in an instant, have rid him of his miserable existence.

The death of a regicide was a sort of gala to these belles; while the
lead was melting over the furnace, the iron pinchers heating in the
fire, and the horses disposed for tearing asunder the four quarters
of the victim of the laws, some of them amused themselves with an
innocent game at cards, in sight of all these terrible preparations,
from which a man of ordinary feeling would avert his looks with
horror.

How happens it that, in all countries on the continent, ladies flock
to these odious spectacles? Every where, I believe, the populace run
to behold them; but that a female of superior birth and breeding can
deliberately seek so inhuman a gratification is a mystery which I
cannot explain, unless, indeed, on the principle of shewing
themselves, as well as that of seeing the show.

  "_Spectatum veniunt, veniunt spectentur ut ipsae_."



LETTER LXI.

_Paris, February 2, 1802._

Independently of the general organization of Public Instruction,
according to the new plan, of which I have before traced you the
leading features, there exist several schools appropriate to
different professions, solely devoted to the Public Service, and
which require particular knowledge in the arts and sciences. Hence
they bear the generic name of

SCHOOLS FOR PUBLIC SERVICES.

They are comprised under the following denominations.

  POLYTECHNIC SCHOOL.
  SCHOOL OF ARTILLERY.
            MILITARY ENGINEERS.
            BRIDGES AND HIGHWAYS.
            MINES.
            NAVAL ENGINEERS.
            NAVIGATION.

In order to be admitted into any of the above schools, the candidates
must prove themselves qualified by the preliminary instruction
required the examinations at the competition prescribed for each of
them. The pupils of these schools receive a salary from the nation.
At the head of them is the _Polytechnic School_, of which I have
already spoken. This is the grand nursery, whence the pupils, when
they have attained a sufficient degree of perfection, are
transplanted into the other _Schools for Public Services_. Next come
the

SCHOOLS OF ARTILLERY.

There are eight of these in the places where the regiments of
artillery are garrisoned. The pupils who are sent thither as
officers, after having been examined, apply their knowledge to the
arts, to the construction of works, and to the manoeuvres of war
dependent on artillery. Each school, in which the pupils must remain
two years longer, is under the superintendance of a general of
brigade of the corps.

SCHOOL OF MILITARY ENGINEERS.

This school, united to that of Miners, is established at Metz. Its
labours relate to the application of the theoretical knowledge which
the pupils have imbibed at the _Polytechnic School_. The objects of
these labours is the construction of all sorts of works of
fortification, mines and counter-mines, mock-representations of
sieges, attack, and defence, the drawing of plans and military
surveys, in a word, all the details of the duty of engineers in
fortified places and in the field.

The number of pupils is limited to twenty. They have the rank and pay
of second lieutenant. The School of Engineers, as well as the Schools
of Artillery, is under the authority of the Minister at War.

Much as I wish to compress my subject, I must observe that,
previously to leaving the school, the pupils undergo a strict
examination respecting the objects of instruction before-enumerated.
This examination is intrusted to a _jury_ (as the French term it)
composed of the commander in chief of the school, a general or
field-officer of the corps, appointed every year by the Minister at
War, and one of the permanent examiners of the Polytechnic School.
_This jury forms the list of merit, which regulates the order of
promotion._ Can we then wonder that the French have the first
military engineers in Europe?

SCHOOL OF BRIDGES AND HIGHWAYS.

It was founded in 1787, by TRUDAINE, and continued under the
direction of PERRONET, chief engineer of this corps, till his death,
which happened in 1794. He was then 86 years of age. By his will, he
bequeathed to this school, for the instruction of the pupils whom he
loved as his children, his library, his models, his manuscripts, and
his portfolios; articles which at this day form an invaluable
collection.

This school, which is at present established in the _Hotel de
Chatelet_ (formerly belonging to the duke of that name) _Rue de
Grenelle_, _St. Germain_, unites the _depot_ or repository of plans
and models to the labours relating to roads, canals, and harbours for
trade. The number of pupils admitted is fifty. They are taken from
the _Polytechnic School_, and retain the salary which they there
received.

The instruction given to them chiefly consists in the application of
the principles of physics and mathematics to the art of planning and
constructing works relative to roads, canals, and sea-ports, and the
buildings belonging thereto; the means of execution, and the mode of
forming plans and estimates of the works to be executed, and the
order to be observed in keeping the accounts.

The _School of Bridges and Highways_ is under the authority of the
Minister of the Interior,

PRACTICAL SCHOOLS OF MINES.

One of these schools is established at Geislautern, in the
department of La Sarre; and the other, at Pesay, in the department
of Mont-Blanc.

The Director and Professors form a committee for the working of the
mines of Pesay, as well as for the instruction of the pupils. In
consequence of the report of this committee the _Council of Mines_
established in Paris, proposes to the government the measures
necessary to be adopted. Twenty pupils, who have passed their
examination at the _Polytechnic School_, are attached to the
practical schools, for the purpose of applying the theoretical part
of their instruction. Extra-scholars, with testimonials of good
behaviour and capacity, are admitted to be educated at their own
expense. These schools are also under the authority of the Minister
of the Interior.

SCHOOL OF NAVAL ENGINEERS.

The _School of Naval Architects_, which existed in Paris, has been
removed to Brest, under the name of _Ecole des Ingenieurs des
Vaisseaux_. No pupils are admitted but such as have been students, at
least two years, in the _Polytechnic School_. The examination of the
candidates takes place every year, and the preference is given to
those who excel in descriptive geometry, mechanics, and the other
branches of knowledge appropriated to the first year's study at that
school. When the pupils have proved, in the repeated examinations
which they must undergo, that they are sufficiently qualified, they
are sent to Brest (as vacancies occur), in order to apply the theory
they have acquired to the different works carried on in that port,
where they find both the example and the precept, and are taught
every thing relative to the construction of ships of war and
merchant-vessels.

This school is under the authority of the Minister of the naval
department. The pupils admitted into it, receive a salary of 1800
francs (_circa_ L. 75 sterling) a year.

SCHOOLS OF NAVIGATION.

The Schools of Mathematics and Hydrography, established for the navy
of the State, and the Schools of Hydrography destined for the
merchant-service, bear the name of _Ecoles de Navigation_.

Every year, there is a competition for the admission of candidates
for naval employment. The Hydrographical Examiner makes a general
tour to the different ports, where he interrogates the pupils in
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, statics, and navigation. According to
these examinations, they are admitted to the rank of _aspirons de
marine_ or midshipmen, captains of merchant-ships for long voyages,
masters of coasting-vessels, pilots, &c,

By a late decree of the Consuls, no one can be admitted to the
examination prescribed for being received as master in the
coasting-trade, unless he is twenty-four years of age, and has
served five years on board the ships of war belonging to the
Republic.

       *       *       *       *       *

In my letter of the 15th of January, I have shewn you that Public
Instruction is to be divided into four classes: 1. In Primary
Schools, established by the _Communes_. 2. In Secondary Schools,
established by the _Communes_, and kept by private masters. 3. In
Lyceums. 4. In _Special Schools_. In the two last-mentioned
establishments, the pupils are to be maintained at the expense of the
nation.

Before I particularize the _Special Schools_, I must mention a
national institution, distinguished by the appellation of

PRYTANEE FRANCAIS.

It is divided into four colleges, established at Paris, St. Cyr, St.
Germain-en-Laye, and Compiegne. It was destined for the gratuitous
education of the children of the military killed in the field of
honour, and of public functionaries who might happen to die in the
discharge of their office.

By a decree of the Consuls, dated the 1st of Germinal year VIII (22nd
of March 1800) the number of pupils, in each of the Colleges of
Paris, St. Cyr, and St. Germain-en-Laye, is limited to two hundred,
and to three hundred, in that of Compiegne. An augmentation, however,
is to be made in favour of the new departments. The pupils are named
by the First Consul. On entering the College, they bring a stated
proportion of necessaries, after which they are wholly maintained at
the expense of the nation till they have finished their studies. The
government provides for the advancement of those who give the
greatest proof of good conduct and talent. The pupils cannot remain
in either of these four colleges beyond the age of eighteen.

As I have before observed, the Central Schools are, in future, to
bear the name of Lyceums, and the highest degree of public
instruction is to be acquired in the

SPECIAL SCHOOLS.

In these upper schools are to be particularly taught, in the most
profound manner, the useful sciences, together with jurisprudence,
medicine, natural history, &c. The Special Schools now in existence
are to be continued, subject to such modifications as the government
may think fit to introduce for the benefit of the Public Service.
They are still under the immediate superintendance of the Minister of
the Interior.

The _College de France_ I have before described: the Museum of
Natural History, the Special School of docimastic Mineralogy and
Chemistry, and that for Oriental languages, I shall speak of
elsewhere; but I shall now proceed to give you a rapid sketch of the
others which I have not yet noticed, beginning with the

SPECIAL SCHOOL OF PAINTING AND SCULPTURE.

This institution was founded in 1648, at the instigation of LE BRUN.
It was formerly held in the _Place du Louvre_, but is now removed to
the _ci-devant College des Quatre-Nations_, which has taken the name
of _Palais des Beaux Arts_. This is the only school in Paris that has
never indulged in any vacation. Each professor is on duty for two
months. During the first month, he gives his lessons in the school of
living models; during the other, in the school of the antique,
called, _la bosse_. It may not be uninteresting to give you an idea
of the

COMPETITIONS.

Every year there is a competition in Painting, Sculpture, and
Architecture, which is to be called _National Prize_. Its object is
to confer on those who have gained the first prize, at present
proposed by the Institute, the advantage of an allowance of 1200
francs for five years, which is insured to them at the French School
of Fine Arts at Rome. During their stay there, they are lodged,
boarded, and taken care of, in case of illness, at the expense of the
Republic.

A competition takes place every six months for the rank of places in
the schools; and another, every three months for the distribution of
medals.

There is also a prize, of 100 francs, founded by M. DE CAYLUS, for a
head expressive of character, painted or drawn from nature; and
another prize of 300 francs, founded by LATOUR, for a half-length,
painted after a model, and of the natural size.

Independently of the competition of the school, there is every year a
general competition followed by a distribution of the works of
encouragement, granted to the artists who have distinguished
themselves most in the annual exhibition of the _Salon du Louvre_. A
jury, named by the competitors themselves, examines the different
pictures, classes them according to the degree of merit which it
finds they possess, and the Minister of the Interior allots to each
of the artists _crowned_ a sum in payment of a new work which they
are bound to furnish to the government.

NATIONAL SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE.

In this school, which is held in the _Louvre_, the Professor of
Architecture delivers lectures on the history of that art, and the
theory of its different branches, on the orders, and edifices erected
by the ancients, and on the works of Vitruvius, Palladio, Scamozzi,
and Vignole. He takes no small pains to make known the bold style of
Grecian architecture, which the Athenians chiefly employed during the
ages when they prided themselves on being a free people.

The Professor of Mathematics explains the principles of arithmetic
and elementary geometry, which he applies to the different branches
of civil and military architecture, such as levelling, the art of
constructing plans, and perspective.

The Professor of Stereotomy, in his lectures, chiefly comprises
masonry and carpentry; he points out the best methods of employing
those arts in civil and military buildings. His demonstrations relate
to the theoretical and practical part of both branches. All the
pupils, and students of architecture are indiscriminately admitted to
the competition for the great prize of architecture, provided they
are not foreigners.

CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC.

This establishment, situated in the _Rue du Faubourg Poissonniere_,
was founded on the 16th of Thermidor year III, (4th of August 1795)
for the preservation and reproduction of music in all its branches.

It is composed of a director, three inspectors of teaching, a
secretary, a librarian, and thirty-five professors.

The director presides over the whole establishment; the inspectors
superintend the teaching, examine the pupils, and teach the branches
of study attributed to them by the regulation.

In the Conservatory, the instruction is divided as follows:
composition, harmony, solfaing, singing, violin, violincello,
harpsicord, organ, flute, hautboy, clarinette, French-horn, bassoon,
trumpet, trombonne, serpent, preparation for singing, and declamation
applicable to the lyric stage.

The completion of the study is effected by a series of lectures,
treating specially of the relations between the sciences and the art
of music.

Three hundred pupils of both sexes, taken in equal number from each
department, are instructed gratuitously in the Conservatory. The
principal points towards which their studies are directed, are, to
keep up music in society, to form artists for the execution of public
_fetes_, for the armies, and for the theatres.

These pupils are admitted after an examination, which takes place
four times a year. Prizes are distributed annually, in a public
meeting of the Conservatory, to the pupils who distinguish themselves
in each branch of study.

       *       *       *       *       *

_February 2, in continuation._

To the preceding brief account of the Conservatory, I shall subjoin a
few observations on the

PRESENT STATE OF MUSIC IN FRANCE.

Till the year 1789, this was the country where the greatest expense
was incurred in cultivating music; yet the means which were employed,
though very numerous, produced but little effect, and contributed not
to the improvement of that art. Every thing even announces that its
progress would have been still more retarded, but for the
introduction of the Italian Opera, in 1645, by Cardinal Mazarin.

The brilliant success of _Orfeo e Euridice_, in 1647, determined the
national taste in favour of this sort of _spectacle_, and gave birth
to the wish of transplanting it to the French stage. It was in 1659
that the first opera, with music adapted to a French poem, was
performed at Issy.

Since the epoch of the establishment of the French opera, every
department belonging to it, with the sole exception of the singing,
has been so much improved, that it is become the most brilliant
_spectacle_ in Europe. But, as the lyric theatres in France were
always obliged to seek recruits among the pupils formed in the
schools maintained by the clergy for the service of public worship,
the influence of the clerical mode of instruction was felt; and this
was, in fact, the source of the bad taste which for a long time
characterized French singing.

Had the grand opera in France been continued an Italian one, as it
was first established, (like those subsequently introduced in the
principal cities of Europe) it would have been supported by
performers formed by the Conservatories of Italy; and the good taste
of those schools would have balanced or proscribed the bad taste of
the French cathedrals; but the genius of the seventeenth century
chose that the French language, purified and fixed by the writers who
rendered it illustrious, should also become the language of the lyric
theatre. Musical instruction, remaining entirely subservient to the
customs of religion, was unable to keep pace with the rapid progress
of the arts and sciences during that brilliant period.

Among the defects of the old system of teaching music, must be placed
that of confining it to men; nevertheless, the utility of women in
concerts and plays was as incontestable then as it is at the present
day. Public instruction was therefore due to them in that point of
view; but, had no such consideration existed, they should have been
admitted to participate in this instruction, in order to propagate
the art in society. The success of this method would have been
infallible: as soon as women should have cultivated the musical art
with success, its naturalization would have been effected in France,
as it has been in Germany and Italy.

The expense of the musical instruction pursued in the schools
belonging to the cathedrals was immense, compared with its results in
every branch of the art. As to composers, they produced but a very

small number, and few of these distinguished themselves; no
instrumental performer of eminence ever issued from them; and, with
few exceptions, the singers they formed were very indifferent.

The necessity of introducing a better method of singing induced the
government, in 1783, to establish a _Special School of Singing and
Declamation._ This institution continued in full exercise for ten
years; but, though the celebrated PICCINI was appointed to preside
over the vocal department, the habits of the old school obstructed
its progress, and prevented it from producing the good which was
expected from it.

At the epoch of the dissolution of the monarchical institutions,
there remained in France only the School of Music of the Parisian
national guard, and that of Singing and Declamation just mentioned.
The republican government ordered them to be united, and thus was
formed the _Conservatory of Music_.

Nor let it be imagined that policy has had no share in establishing
this institution. It has furnished the numerous bands of musicians
rendered necessary by the levy of fourteen armies which France had,
at one and the same time, in the field. It is well known that music
has done almost wonders in reviving the courage of the French
soldiers, who, when Victory seemed adverse to them, inclined her in
their favour, by rallying to the tune of the _Marseillois_. In the
heat of action, joining their voic