Transcriber's note: Original spellings (and their inconsistencies) have been maintained. A few obvious printer's error have been corrected: a list of this corrections can be found at the end of the text.
THE STRANGER IN FRANCE:
OR, A TOUR FROM DEVONSHIRE TO PARIS.
ILLUSTRATED BY ENGRAVINGS IN AQUA TINTA
OF SKETCHES, TAKEN ON THE SPOT,
JOHN CARR, Esq.
PRINTED FOR J. JOHNSON, NO. 72, ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD. SOLD ALSO BY W. HANNAFORD, TOTNES.
Bryer, Printer, Bridge Street, Black Friars.
The little tour which gave birth to the following remarks, was taken immediately after the exchange of the ratifications of a peace, necessary, but not inglorious to my country, after a contest unexampled in its cause, calamity, extension, vicissitudes and glory; amidst a people who, under the influence of a political change, hitherto unparallelled, were to be approached as an order of beings, exhibiting a moral and political form before but little known to themselves and to the world, in the abrupt removal of habits and sentiments which had silently and uninterruptedly taken deep root in the soil of ages.
During a separation of ten years, we have received very little account of this extraordinary people, which could be relied upon. Dissimilar sensations, excited by their principles and proceedings, ever partially and irregularly known, have depicted unaccording representations of them, and, in the sequel, have exhibited rather a high-coloured, fanciful delineation, than a plain and faithful resemblance of the original. Many are the persons who have been thus misled.
These fugitive sketches, in which an attempt is made to delineate, just as they occurred, those scenes which, to my mind at least, were new and interesting, were originally penned for the private perusal of those whom I esteem; and by their persuasion they are now offered to the public eye. Amongst them I must be permitted to indulge in the pride and pleasure of enumerating William Hayley, esq. a name familiar and dear to every elegant and polished mind. Enlightened by his emendations, and supported by the cherishing spirit of his approval, I approach, with a more subdued apprehension, the tribunal of public opinion; and to my friends I dedicate this humble result of a short relaxation from the duties of an anxious and laborious profession. If, by submitting to their wishes, I have erred, I have only to offer, that it is my first, and shall be my last offence.
Totnes, August, 1802. JOHN CARR.
[Symbol: right pointing index] The engravings which accompany this work, are of sketches made on the spot by an untutored pencil, and are introduced for the purpose of illustration only.
Torr Abbey.—Cap of Liberty.—Anecdote of English Prejudice.—Fire Ships.—Southampton River.—Netley Abbey. page 1.
French Emigrants.—Scene on the Quay of Southampton.—Sail for Havre.—Aged French Priest.—Their respectable Conduct in England.—Their Gratitude.—Make the Port of Havre.—Panic of the Emigrants.—Landing described.—Hotel de la Paix.—Breakfast Knife.—Municipality. p. 6.
Passports procured.—Coins.—Town of Havre.—Carts.—Citoyen.—Honfleur.—Deserters.—Prefect de Marine.—Ville de Sandwich.—French Farmers.—Sir Sydney Smith.—Catherine de Medicis.—Light Houses.—Rafts. p. 20.
Cheap travelling to Paris.—Diligences.—French Postilions.—Spanish Postilions.—Norman Horses.—Bolbec.—Natives of Caux.—Ivetot.—Return of Religion.—Santerre.—Jacobin.—The Mustard-pot.—National Property. p. 31.
A female french fib.—Military and Civil Procession.—Madame G.—The Review.—Mons. l'Abbe.—Bridge of Boats.—The Quay.—Exchange.—Theatre.—Rouen.—Cathedral.—St. Ouens.—Prince of Waldec.—Maid of Orleans. p. 40.
First Consul's Advertisement.—Something ridiculous.—Eggs.—Criminal Military Tribunal.—French Female Confidence.—Town House.—Convent of Jesuits.—Guillotine.—Governor W——. p. 50.
Filial Piety.—St. Catharine's Mount.—Madame Phillope.—General Ruffin's Trumpet.—Generosity.—Love Infectious.—Masons and Gardeners. p. 62.
Early dinner.—Mante.—Frost.—Duke de Sully.—Approach the Capital.—Norman Barrier.—Paris.—Hotel de Rouen.—Palais Royal. p. 72.
French Reception.—Voltaire.—Restaurateur.—Consular Guard.—Music.—Venetian Horses.—Gates of the Palace.—Gardens of the Thuilleries.—Statues.—The faithful Vase.—The Sabine Picture.—Monsieur Perregaux.—Marquis de Chatelet.—Madame Perregaux.—Beaux and Belles of Paris. p. 79.
Large Dogs.—A Plan for becoming quickly acquainted with Paris.—Pantheon.—Tombs of Voltaire and Rousseau.—Politeness of an Emigrant.—The Beauty of France.—Beauty evanescent.—Place de Carousel.—Infernal Machine.—Fouche.—Seine.—Washerwomen.—Fisherwomen.—Baths. p. 90.
David.—Place de la Concorde.—L'Eglise de Madeleine.—Print-shops.—Notre Dame.—Museum or Palace of Arts.—Hall of Statues.—Laocoon.—Belvidere Apollo.—Socrates. p. 101.
Bonaparte.—Artillery.—Mr. Pitt.—Newspapers.—Archbishop of Paris.—Consular Colours.—Religion.—Consular Conversion.—Madame Bonaparte.—Consular Modesty.—Separate Beds.—A Country Scene.—Connubial Affection.—Female Bravery. p. 113.
Breakfast.—Warmth of French Expression.—Rustic Eloquence.—Curious Cause assigned for the late extraordinary Frost.—Madame R——.—Paul I.—Tivoli.—Frescati. p. 128.
Convent of blue Nuns.—Duchesse de Biron.—The bloody Key.—Courts of Justice.—Public Library.—Gobelines.—Miss Linwood.—Garden of Plants.—French Accommodation.—Boot Cleaners.—Cat and Dog Shearers.—Monsieur S—— and Family. p. 140.
Civility of a Sentinel.—The Hall of the Legislative Assembly.—British House of Commons.—Captain Bergeret.—The Temple.—Sir Sydney Smith's Escape.—Colonel Phillipeaux. p. 150
A fashionable Poem.—Frere Rickart.—Religion.—Hotel des Invalides.—Hall of Victory.—Enemies' Colours.—Sulky Appearance of an English Jack and Ensign.—Indecorum.—The aged Captain.—Military School.—Champ de Mars.—The Garden of Mousseaux. p. 163.
Curious Method of raising Hay.—Lucien Bonaparte's Hotel.—Opera.—Consular Box.—Madame Bonaparte's Box.—Feydeau Theatre.—Belle Vue.—Versailles.—The Palace of the Petit Trianon.—The Grounds. p. 175.
Bonaparte's Talents in Finance.—Garrick and the Madman.—Palace of the Conservative Senate.—Process of transferring Oil Paintings from Wood to Canvas.—The Dinner Knife.—Commodities.—Hall of the National Convention.—The Minister Talleyrand's Levee. p. 188.
The College of the Deaf and Dumb.—Abbe Sicard.—Bagatelle.—Police.—Grand National Library.—Bonaparte's Review.—Tambour Major of the Consular Regiment.—Restoration of Artillery Colours. p. 201.
Abbe Sieyes.—Consular Procession to the Council Chamber.—10th of August, 1792.—Celerity of Mons. Fouche's Information.—The two Lovers.—Cabinet of Mons. le Grand.—Self-prescribing Physician.—Bust of Robespierre.—His Lodgings.—Corn Hall.—Museum of French Monuments.—Revolutionary Agent.—Lovers of married Women. p. 214.
Picturesque and Mechanical Theatre.—Filtrating and purifying Vases.—English Jacobins.—A Farewell.—Messagerie.—MalMaison.—Forest of Evreux.—Lower Normandy.—Caen.—Hon. T. Erskine.—A Ball.—The Keeper of the Sachristy of Notre Dame.—The two blind Beggars.—Ennui.—St. Lo.—Cherbourg.—England. p. 230.
GENERAL REMARKS. p. 252.
THE STRANGER IN FRANCE
Torr Abbey.—Cap of Liberty.—Anecdote of English Prejudice.—Fire Ships.—Southampton River.—Netley Abbey.
It was a circumstance, which will be memorable with me, as long as I live, and pleasant to my feelings, as often as I recur to it, that part of my intended excursion to the Continent was performed in the last ship of war, which, after the formal confirmations of the peace, remained, of that vast naval armament, which, from the heights of Torbay, for so many years, presented to the astonished and admiring eye, a spectacle at once of picturesque beauty, and national glory. It was the last attendant in the train of retiring war.
Under the charming roof of Torr Abbey, the residence of George Cary, esq., I passed a few days, until the Megaera was ready to sail for Portsmouth, to be paid off, the commander of which, captain Newhouse, very politely offered to convey my companion, captain W. Cary, and myself, to that port.
In this beautiful spot, the gallant heroes of our navy have often found the severe and perilous duties of the boisterous element alleviated by attentions, which, in their splendid and cordial display, united an elegant taste to a noble spirit of hospitality.
In the Harleian Tracts there is a short, but rather curious account preserved of the sensation produced at the Abbey on the 5th of November, 1688, after the prince of Orange had entered the bay with his fleet, on their passage to Brixham, where he landed:—
"The prince commanded captain M—— to search the lady Cary's house, at Torr Abbey, for arms and horses. The lady entertaining them civilly, said her husband was gone to Plymouth: they brought from thence some horses, and a few arms, but gave no further disturbance to the lady or her house."
Throughout this embarrassing interview, the lady Cary appears to have conducted herself with great temper, dignity and resolution, whilst, on the other hand, the chaplain of that day, whose opinions were not very favourable to the revolution, unlike his present amiable and enlightened successor, left his lady in the midst of her perplexities, and fled.
 Rev. John Halford.
In the Abbey, I was much pleased with an interesting, though not very ornamental trophy of the glorious victory of Aboukir. The truckle heads of the masts of the Aquilon, a french ship of the line, which struck to the brave captain Lewis, in that ever memorable battle, were covered with the bonnet rouge; one of these caps of liberty, surmounted with the british flag, has been committed to the care of the family, by that heroic commander, and now constitutes a temporary ornament of their dining-room.
Here we laid in provision for our little voyage, without, however, feeling the same apprehension, which agitated the mind of a fair damsel, in the service of a lady of rank who formerly resided in my neighbourhood, who, preparing to attend her mistress to the Continent, and having heard from the jolly historians of the kitchen, that the food in France was chiefly supplied by the croaking inhabitants of the green and standing pool, contrived, very carefully, to carry over a piece of homebred pork, concealed in her workbag.
Early in the morning after we set sail, we passed through the Needles, which saved us a very considerable circuitous sail round the southern side of the Isle of Wight, a passage which the late admiral Macbride first successfully attempted, for vessels of war, in a ship of the line.
The vessel, in which we sailed, was a fireship; a costly instrument of destruction, which has never been applied during the recent war, and only once, and that unsuccessfully, during the preceding one. We had several of them in commission, although they are confessedly of little utility in these times, and from the immense stores of combustibles with which they are charged, threaten only peril to the commander and his crew.
We soon after dropped anchor, and proceeded to Portsmouth, in search of a packet for Havre-de-Grace. In the street, our trunks were seized by the custom-house officers, whilst conveying to the inn, but after presenting our keys, and requesting immediate search and restoration, they were returned to us without further annoyance. Finding that the masters of the french packets were undetermined when they should sail, we resolved upon immediately leaving this celebrated seaport, and proceeding by water to Southampton, distant about twenty-four miles; where, after a very unpleasant passage, from its blowing with considerable violence soon after we left Portsmouth, we arrived, in a little wherry, about twelve o'clock at night, at the Vine inn, which is very conveniently situated for passengers by the packets.
It will not be required of me, to attempt a minute description of the Southampton river, at a time when I expected, with some reason, as I afterwards understood, to sink to the bottom of it. An observation very natural to persons in our situation occurred to me all the way, viz. that the shores seemed to be too far distant from each other, and that had there been less water, the scenery would have been more delightful; an observation which, however, the next day confirmed, when it presented the safe and tranquil appearance of a mirror.
Finding that the packet for France was not likely to sail immediately, we hired a boat, and proceeded down the river, to view the beautiful ruins of Netley Abbey, in the great court of which we dined, under the shade of aged limes, and amidst the flappings of its feathered and restless tenantry.
As I am no great admirer of tedious details, I shall not attempt an antiquarian history of this delightful spot. I shall leave it to more circumstantial travellers, to enumerate the genealogies of the worthies who occupied it at various eras, and to relate, like a monumental entablature, when, where, and how they lived and died; it will be sufficient to observe, that the site of this romantic abode was granted by Henry VIII, in 1757, to a sir William Paulet, and that after having had many merry monks for its masters, who, no doubt, performed their matutinae laudes and nocturnae vigiliae with devout exactness; that it is at length in the possession of Mr. Dance, who has a very fine and picturesque estate on that side of the river, of which these elegant ruins constitute the chief ornament. The church still exhibits a beautiful specimen of gothic architecture, but its tottering remains will rapidly share the fate of the neighbouring pile, which time has prostrated on the earth, and covered with his thickest shade of ivy.
Our watermen gave us a curious description of this place, and amused us not a little with their ridiculous anacronisms.
"I tell you what," said one of them, contradicting the other, "you are in the wrong, Bob, indeed you are wrong, don't mislead them gentlemen, that there Abbey is in the true roman style, and was built by a man they call——, but that's neither here nor there, I forget the name, however, its a fine place, and universally allowed to be very old. I frequently rows gentlefolks there, and picks up a great deal about it."
On our return the tide was at its height, the sun was setting in great glory, the sky and water seemed blended in each other, the same red rich tint reigned throughout, the vessels at anchor appeared suspended in the air, the spires of the churches were tipped with the golden ray; a scene of more beauty, richness, and tranquillity I never beheld.
French Emigrants.—Scene on the Quay of Southampton.—Sail for Havre.—Aged French Priest.—Their respectable Conduct in England.—Their Gratitude.—Make the Port of Havre.—Panic of the Emigrants.—Landing described.—Hotel de la Paix.—Breakfast Knife.—Municipality.
During the whole of the second day after our arrival, the town of Southampton was in a bustle, occasioned by the flocking in of a great number of french emigrants, who were returning to their own country, in consequence of a mild decree, which had been passed in their favour. The scene was truly interesting, and the sentiment which it excited, delightful to the heart.
A respectable cure, who dined in the same room with us at our inn, was observed to eat very little; upon being pressed to enlarge his meal, this amiable man said, with tears starting in his eyes, "Alas! I have no appetite; a very short time will bring me amongst the scenes of my nativity, my youth, and my happiness, from which a remorseless revolution has parted me for these ten long years; I shall ask for those who are dear to me, and find them for ever gone. Those who are left will fill my mind with the most afflicting descriptions; no, no, I cannot eat, my good sir."
About noon, they had deposited their baggage upon the quay, which formed a pile of aged portmanteaus, and battered trunks. Parties remained to protect them, previous to their embarkation. The sun was intensely hot, they were seated under the shade of old umbrellas, which looked as if they had been the companions of their banishment.
Their countenances appeared strongly marked with the pious character of resignation, over which were to be seen a sweetness, and corrected animation, which seemed to depict at once the soul's delight, of returning to its native home, planted wherever it may be, and the regret of leaving a nation, which, in the hour of flight and misery, had nobly enrolled them in the list of her own children, and had covered them with protection.
To the eternal honour of these unhappy, but excellent people, be it said, that they have proved themselves worthy of being received in such a sanctuary. Our country has enjoyed the benefit of their unblemished morals, and their mild, polite, and unassuming manners, and wherever destiny has placed them, they have industriously relieved the national burden of their support by diffusing the knowledge of a language, which good sense, and common interest, should long since have considered as a valuable branch of education.
To those of my friends, who exercise the sacred functions of religion, as established in this country, I need not offer an apology, for paying an humble tribute of common justice to these good, and persecuted men; who, from habit, pursue a mode of worship, a little differing in form, but terminating in the same great and glorious centre. The enlightened liberality of the british clergy will unite, in paying that homage to them, which they, in my presence, have often with enthusiasm, and rapture, offered up to the purity, and sanctity of their characters. Many of them informed me, that they had received the most serviceable favours from our clergy, administered with equal delicacy, and munificence.
Amongst these groups were some females, the wives and daughters of toulonese merchants, who left their city when lord Hood abandoned that port. The politeness and attention, which were paid to them by the men, were truly pleasing. It was the good breeding of elegant habits, retaining all their softness in the midst of adversity, sweetened with the sympathy of mutual and similar sufferings.
They had finished their dinner, and were drinking their favourite beverage of coffee. Poor wanderers! the water was scarcely turned brown with the few grains which remained of what they had purchased for their journey.
I addressed them, by telling them, that I had the happiness of being a passenger with them, in the same vessel; they said they were fortunate to have in their company one of that nation, which would be dear to them as long as they lived. A genteel middle aged woman offered to open a little parcel of fresh coffee, which they had purchased in the town for the voyage, and begged to make some for me. By her manner, she seemed to wish me to consider it, more as the humble offering of gratitude, than of politeness, or perhaps both were blended in the offer. In the afternoon, their baggage was searched by the revenue officers, who, on this occasion, exercised a liberal gentleness, which gave but little trouble, and no pain. They who brought nothing into a country but the recollection of their miseries, were not very likely to carry much out of it, but the remembrance of its generosity.
At seven o'clock in the evening we were all on board, and sailed with a gentle breeze down the river: we carried with us a good stock of vegetables, which we procured fresh, from the admirable market of Southampton. Upon going down into the cabin, I was struck, and at first shocked, with seeing a very aged man, stretched at his length upon pillows and clothes, placed on the floor, attended by two clergymen, and some women, who, in their attentions to this apparently dying old gentleman, seemed to have forgotten their own comfortless situation, arising from so many persons being crowded in so small a space, for our numbers above and below amounted to sixty. Upon inquiry, they informed me, that the person whose appearance had so affected me, had been a clergyman of great repute and esteem at Havre, that he was then past the age of ninety five years, scarcely expected to survive our short voyage, but was anxious to breathe his last in his own country. They spoke of him, as a man who in other times, and in the fulness of his faculties, had often from his pulpit, struck with terror and contrition, the trembling souls of his auditors, by the force of his exalted eloquence; who had embellished the society in which he moved, with his elegant attainments; and who had relieved the unhappy, with an enlarged heart and munificent hand—A mere mass of misery, and helpless infirmities, remained of all these noble qualities!
During the early part of the night, we made but little way—behind, the dark shadowy line of land faded in mist; before us, the moon spread a stream of silver light upon the sea. The soft stillness of this repose of nature was broken only by the rippling of the light wave against the head and sides of the vessel, and by the whistling of the helmsman, who, with the helm between his knees, and his arms crossed, alternately watching the compass and the sail, thus invoked the presence of the favouring breeze.
Leaving him, and some few of our unfortunate comrades, to whom the motion of the sea was more novel than gratifying, we descended into the steerage, (for our births in the cabin were completely occupied by females). As we were going down the ladder, the appearance of so many recumbent persons, faintly distinguishable by the light of a solitary taper, reminded us of a floating catacomb; here, crawling under a cot which contained two very corpulent priests, upon a spare cable, wrapt up in our own great coats, we resigned ourselves to rest.
The next day, without having made much progress in our little voyage, we arose, and assembled round the companion, which formed our breakfast table; at dinner, we were enabled to spread a handsome table of refreshments, to which we invited all our fellow passengers who were capable of partaking of them, many of whom were preparing to take their scanty meal, removed from us at the head of the vessel. For this little act of common civility, we were afterwards abundantly repaid, by the thankfulness of all, and the serviceable attentions of some of our charming guests, when we landed; an instance of which I shall afterwards have occasion to mention. The wind slackened during the day, but in the evening it blew rather fresh, and about nine o'clock the next morning, after a night passed something in the same way as the former, we were awakened being informed that we were within in a league of Havre; news by no means disagreeable, after the dead dulness of a sea calm.
The appearance of the coast was high, rugged, and rocky; to use a good marine expression, it looked ironbound all along shore. To the east, upon an elevated point of land, are two noble light houses, of very beautiful construction, which I shall have occasion to describe hereafter.
At some little distance, we saw considerable flights of wild ducks. The town and bason lie round the high western point from the lights, below which there is a fine pebbled beach. The quays are to the right and left within the pier, upon the latter of which there is a small round tower. It was not the intention of our packet captain to go within the pier, for the purpose of saving the port-anchorage dues, which amount to eight pounds sterling, but a government boat came off, and ordered the vessel to hawl close up to the quay, an order which was given in rather a peremptory manner. Upon our turning the pier, we saw as we warped up to the quay, an immense motley crowd, flocking down to view us. A panic ran throughout our poor fellow passengers. From the noise and confusion on shore, they expected that some recent revolution had occurred, and that they were upon the point of experiencing all the calamities, which they had before fled from; they looked pale and agitated upon each other, like a timid and terrified flock of sheep, when suddenly approached by their natural enemy the wolf. It turned out, however, that mere curiosity, excited by the display of english colours, had assembled this formidable rabble, and that the order which we received from the government boat, was given for the purpose of compelling the captain to incur, and consequently to pay, the anchorage dues. In a moment we were beset by a parcel of men and boys, half naked, and in wooden shoes, who hallooing and "sacre dieuing" each other most unmercifully, began, without further ceremony, to seize upon every trunk within their reach, which they threw into their boats lying alongside.
By a well-timed rap upon the knuckles of one of these marine functionaries, we prevented our luggage from sharing the same fate. It turned out, that there was a competition for carrying our trunks on shore, for the sake of an immoderate premium, which they expected to receive, and which occasioned our being assailed in this violent manner. Our fellow-passengers were obliged to go on shore with these vociferous watermen, who had the impudence and inhumanity to charge them two livres each, for conveying them to the landing steps, a short distance of about fifty yards. Upon their landing, we were much pleased to observe that the people offered them neither violence nor insult. They were received with a sullen silence, and a lane was made for them to pass into the town. The poor old clergyman who had survived the passage, was left on board, in the care of two benevolent persons, until he could be safely and comfortably conveyed on shore. We soon afterwards followed our fellow-passengers in the captain's boat, by which plan we afforded these extortioners a piece of salutary information, very necessary to be made known to them, that although we were english, we were not to be imposed upon. I could not help thinking it rather unworthy of our neighbours to exact from us such heavy port dues, when our english demands of a similar nature, are so very trifling. For such an import, a vessel of the republic, upon its arrival in any of the english ports, would only pay a few shillings. Perhaps this difference will be equalized in some shape, by the impending commercial treaty, otherwise, a considerable partial advantage will accrue to the french from their passage packets. Upon our landing, and entering the streets, I was a little struck with the appearance of the women, who were habited in a coarse red camlet jacket, with a high apron before, long flying lappets to their caps, and were mounted upon large heavy wooden shoes, upon each of which a worsted tuft was fixed, in rude imitation of a rose. The appearance and clatter of these sabots, as they are called, leave upon the mind an impression of extreme poverty and wretchedness.
They are, however, more favoured than the lower order of females in Scotland. Upon a brisk sprightly chamber-maid entering my room one day at an inn in Glasgow, I heard a sound which resembled the pattering of some web-footed bird, when in the act of climbing up the miry side of a pond. I looked down upon the feet of this bonny lassie, and found that their only covering was procured from the mud of the high street—adieu! to the tender eulogies of the pastoral reed! I have never thought of a shepherdess since with pleasure.
I could not help observing the ease, dexterity, and swiftness, with which a single man conveyed all our luggage, which was very heavy, to the custom-house, and afterwards to the inn, in a wheelbarrow, which differed from ours, only in being larger, and having two elastic handles of about nine feet long. At the custom-house, notwithstanding what the english papers have said of the conduct observed here, we were very civilly treated, our boxes were only just opened, and some of our packages were not examined at all. Away we had them whirled, to the Hotel de la Paix, the front of which looks upon the wet-dock, and is embellished with a large board, upon which is recorded, in yellow characters, as usual, the superior advantages of this house over every other hotel in Havre. Upon our arrival, we were ushered up a large dirty staircase into a lofty room, upon the first floor, all the windows of which were open, divided, as they always are in France, in the middle, like folding doors; the floor was tiled, a deal table, some common rush chairs, two very fine pier glasses, and chandeliers to correspond, composed our motley furniture. I found it to be a good specimen of french inns, in general. We were followed by our hostess, the porter, two cooks, with caps on their heads, which had once been white, and large knives in their hands, who were succeeded by two chamber-maids, all looking in the greatest hurry and confusion, and all talking together, with a velocity, and vehemence, which rendered the faculty of hearing almost a misfortune. They appeared highly delighted to see us, talked of our dress, sir Sidney Smith, the blockade, the noble english, the peace, and a train of etceteras. At length we obtained a little cessation, of which we immediately seized the advantage, by directing them to show us to our bedrooms, to procure abundance of water hot and cold, to get us a good breakfast as soon as possible, and to prepare a good dinner for us at four o'clock. Amidst a peal of tongues, this clamorous procession retired.
After we had performed our necessary ablutions, and had enjoyed the luxury of fresh linen, we sat down to some excellent coffee, accompanied with boiled milk, long, delicious rolls, and tolerably good butter, but found no knives upon the table; which, by the by, every traveller in France is presumed to carry with him: having mislaid my own, I requested the maid to bring me one. The person of this damsel, would certainly have suffered by a comparison with those fragrant flowers, to which young poets resemble their beloved mistresses; as soon as I had preferred my prayer, she very deliberately drew from her pocket a large clasp knife, which, after she had wiped on her apron, she presented to me, with a "voila monsieur." I received this dainty present, with every mark of due obligation, accompanied, at the same time, with a resolution not to use it, particularly as my companions (for we had two other english gentlemen with us) had directed her to bring some others to them. This delicate instrument was as savoury as its mistress, amongst the various fragrancies which it emitted, garlic seemed to have the mastery.
About twelve o'clock we went to the hall of the municipality, to procure our passports for the interior, and found it crowded with people upon the same errand. We made our way through them into a very handsome antiroom, and thence, by a little further perseverance, into an inner room, where the mayor and his officers were seated at a large table covered with green cloth. To show what reliance is to be placed upon the communications of english newspapers, I shall mention the following circumstance: my companion had left England, without a passport, owing to the repeated assurances of both the ministerial and opposition prints, and also of a person high in administration, that none were necessary.
The first question propounded to us by the secretary was, "citizens, where are your passports?" I had furnished myself with one; but upon hearing this question, I was determined not to produce it, from an apprehension that I should cover my friend, who had none, with suspicion, so we answered, that in England they were not required of frenchmen, and that we had left our country with official assurances that they would not be demanded of us here.
They replied to us, by reading a decree, which rigorously required them of foreigners, entering upon the territories of the republic, and they assured us, that this regulation was at that moment reciprocal with every other power, and with England in particular. The decree of course closed the argument. We next addressed ourselves to their politeness (forgetting that the revolution had made sad inroads upon it) and requested them, as we had been misled, and had no other views of visiting the country, but those of pleasure, and improvement, that they would be pleased to grant us our passports for the interior. To this address, these high authorities, who seemed not much given to "the melting mood," after making up a physiognomy, as severe, and as iron bound as their coast, laconically observed, that the laws of the republic must be enforced, that they should write to our embassador to know who we were, and that in the mean time they would make out our passports for the town, the barriers of which we were not to pass. Accordingly, a little fat gentleman, in a black coat, filled up these official instruments, which were copied into their books, and both signed by us; he then commenced our "signalement," which is a regular descriptive portrait of the head of the person who has thus the honour of sitting to the municipal portrait painters of the departement de la Seine inferieure.
This portrait is intended, as will be immediately anticipated, to afford encreased facilities to all national guards, marechaussees, thief takers, &c. for placing in "durance vile" the unfortunate original, should he violate the laws.
The signalement is added in the margin, to the passport, and also registered in the municipal records, which, from their size, appeared to contain a greater number of heads and faces, thus depicted, than any museum or gallery I ever beheld.
How correct the likenesses in general are, I leave to the judgment of others, after I have informed them, that the hazle eyes of my friend were described "yeux bleu" in this masterly delineation.
If the dead march in Saul had been playing before us all the way, we could not have marched more gravely, or rather sulkily, to our inn. Before us, we had the heavy prospect of spending about ten days in this town, not very celebrated for either beauty, or cleanliness, until the municipality could receive an account of us, from our embassador, who knew no more of us than they did. The other english gentlemen were in the same predicament.
However we determined to pursue the old adage, that what is without remedy, should be without regret, and, english like, grew very merry over a good dinner, consisting of soups, and meat, and fowls, and fish, and vegetables (for such is the order of a french dinner) confectionary and a desert, accompanied with good Burgundy, and excellent Champaign. Our misfortunes must plead our excuse, if the dinner is considered extravagant. Uncle Toby went to sleep when he was unhappy; we solicited consolation in another way. Our signalements afforded us much diversion, which at length was a little augmented by a plan which I mentioned, as likely to furnish us with the means of our liberation. After dinner I waited upon a young gentleman who was under the care of a very respectable merchant, to whom I had the good fortune to have letters of introduction. Through his means I was introduced to Mons. de la M——, who received me with great politeness. In the hurry and occupations of very extensive commercial pursuits, this amiable old gentleman had found leisure to indulge himself in works of taste. His noble fortune enabled him to gratify his liberal inclinations. I found him seated in his compting-house, which, from its handsome furniture and valuable paintings, resembled an elegant cabinet. I stated the conduct of the municipality towards us, and requested his assistance. After he had shown me his apartments, a fine collection of drawings, by some of the first masters, and some more excellent paintings, we parted, with an assurance that he would immediately wait upon the mayor, who was his friend, and had no doubt but that he should in the course of the next day enable us to leave Havre when and in what manner we pleased. With this agreeable piece of intelligence, I immediately returned to the inn, where it induced us to drink health and success to the friendly merchant in another bottle of champaign.
Passports procured.—Coins.—Town of Havre.—Carts.—Citoyen.—Honfleur.—Deserters.—Prefect de Marine.—Ville de Sandwich.—French Farmers.—Sir Sydney Smith.—Catherine de Medicis.—Light Houses.—Rafts.
If Havre had been a Paradise, the feelings of restraint would have discoloured the magic scenery, and turned the green to one barren brown.
As we could relish nothing, until we had procured our release, the first place we visited the next morning was, once more, the residence of the municipality, where we found that our worthy friend had previously arranged every thing to our wishes, and upon his signing a certificate, that we were peaceable citizens, and had no intention to overturn the republic, our passports were made out, and upon an exchange of a little snuff, and a few bows, we retired. The other two englishmen had their wishes gratified, by the same lucky incident, which had assisted us. Having changed our guineas for french money, and as in future, when money is mentioned, it will be in the currency of the country, it perhaps may not be unacceptable to subjoin a table of the old, and new, and republican coins. For every guinea of full weight, which we carried over, we received twenty-four livres, or a louis d'or, which is equal to twenty shillings sterling, of course we lost one shilling upon every good guinea, and more, according to the deficiency of weight. The course of exchange and commission, with our country, I afterwards found at Paris, to be one shilling and eight pence, in the pound sterling, against us, but the difference will be progressively nearer par, as the accustomed relations of commerce resume their former habits. I was surprised to find the ancient monarchical coin in chief circulation, and that of the republic, very confined. Scarce a pecuniary transaction can occur, but the silent, and eloquent medallion of the unhappy monarch, seems to remind these bewildered people of his fate, and their past misfortunes. Although the country is poor, all their payments are made in cash, this is owing to the shock given by the revolution, to individual, and consequently to paper credit.
To comprehend their money, it must be known, although the french always calculate by livres, as we do by pounds sterling, that the livre is no coin, but computation.
GOLD. s. d. A louis d'or is twenty four livres french, or 20 0 English.
A grand ecu, or six livre piece, 5 0 An ecu, or three livre piece, 2 6 The vingt quatre sols piece, 1 0 A douze sols piece is twelve pence french, or 0 6 A six sols piece is 6d french, or 0 3
COPPER MIXED WITH SILVER.
A deux sols, or two pence french, and one penny english, is nearly the size of our sixpence, but is copper, with a white or silverish mixture, twelve of these make a vingt quatre sols piece, or one shilling english.
They have also another small piece of nearly the same size and colour, but not so white, and rather thinner, which is one sol and a half, three halfpence french, or three farthings english.
A sol is like our halfpenny, value one penny french, or a halfpenny english, twenty-four of these make an english shilling.
A deux liard piece is half a sol french, or a farthing english.
A liard is a farthing french, and of the value of half a farthing english.
A thirty sols piece, is a very beautiful and convenient coin, worth one shilling and three pence english, having a good impression of the late king's head on one side, and the goddess of liberty on the other; it was struck in the early part of the revolution.
A fifteen sols piece is half of the above and very convenient.
A six liard is a bit of copper composition, such as the fine cannon are made of, and is worth three sols french, or a halfpenny, and a farthing english.
A cinq centimes is worth a halfpenny and half a farthing english.
The centimes are of the value of half farthings, five of which are equal to the last coin, they are very small and neat.
An early knowledge of these coins, is very necessary to a stranger, on account of the dishonest advantages which french tradesmen take of their english customers.
To return to my narrative: finding ourselves at liberty to pursue our route, we went from the municipality to the bureau des diligences, and secured our places in the voiture to Rouen, for the next day.
After this necessary arrangement, we proceeded to view the town, which is composed of long and narrow streets. The fronts of the houses, which are lofty, are deformed by the spaces between the naked intersections of the frame work being filled up with mortar, which gives them an appearance of being very heavy, and very mean.
The commerce formerly carried on at Havre, was very extensive. There is here also large manufactories for lace. The theatre is very spacious, well arranged, and as far as we could judge by day-light, handsomely decorated. The players did not perform during our stay. In the vegetable market place, which was much crowded, and large, we saw at this season of the year abundance of fine apples, as fresh in appearance as when they were first plucked from the tree.
In our way there we were accosted by a little ragged beggar boy, who addressed himself to our compassionate dispositions, by the appellation of "tres charitable citoyen," but finding we gave nothing, he immediately changed it to "mon chere tres charitable monsieur."
The strange uncouth expression of citoyen is generally laid aside, except amongst the immediate officers under government, in their official communications, who, however, renounce it in private, for the more civilized title of "monsieur."
The principal church is a fine handsome building, and had been opened for worship, the Sunday before we arrived: On that day the bell of the Sabbath first sounded, during ten years of revolution, infidelity, and bloodshed!!!
The royal arms are every where removed. They formerly constituted a very beautiful ornament over the door of the hotel of the present prefect, at the head of the market place, but they have been rudely beaten out by battle axes, and replaced by rude republican emblems, which every where (I speak of them as a decoration) seem to disfigure the buildings which bear them. When I made this remark, I must, however, candidly confess, that my mind very cordially accompanied my eye, and that natural sentiment mingled with the observation. The quays, piers, and arsenal are very fine, they, together with the docks, for small ships of war and merchandize, were constructed under the auspices of Lewis XIV, with whom this port was a great favourite.
We saw several groups of men at work in heavy chains. They were soldiers who had offended. They are dressed in red jackets and trowsers, which are supposed to increase their disgrace, on account of its being the regimental colour of their old enemy, the english. When my companion, who wore his regimentals, passed them, they all moved their caps to him with great respect.
The town, and consequently the commerce of Rouen, was most successfully blockaded, for near four years, by british commanders, during the late war, and particularly by sir Sidney Smith. It was here, when endeavouring to cut out a vessel, which in point of value, and consideration was unworthy of such an exposure, that this great hero, and distinguished being was made a prisoner of war. The inhabitants, who never speak of him, but with emotions of terror, consider this event as the rash result of a wager conceived over wine. Those who know the character of sir Sidney, will not impute to him such an act of idle temerity. No doubt he considered the object, as included in his duty, and it is only to be lamented, that during two lingering years of rigorous, and cruel confinement, in the dungeons of the unhappy sovereign, his country was bereaved of the assistances of her immortal champion, who, in a future season, upon the shores of Acre, so nobly filled up the gloomy chasm of suspended services, by exploits, which to be believed, must not be adequately described, and who revenged, by an act of unrivalled glory, the long endurance of sufferings, and indignities hateful to the magnanimous spirit of modern warfare, and unknown to it, until displayed within the walls of a prussian dungeon.
 The cruel imprisonment of la Fayette is alluded to.
I shall hereafter have occasion to mention this extraordinary character, when I speak of his escape from the Temple, the real circumstances attending which are but little known, and which I received from an authority upon which the reader may rely.
This town is not unknown to history. At the celebrated siege of it, in the time of Catharine de Medicis, that execrable princess, distinguished herself by her personal intrepidity. It is said, that she landed here, in a galley, bearing the device of the sun, with these words in greek, "I bring light, and fine weather"—a motto which ill corresponded with her conduct.
With great courage, such as seldom associates with cruel, and ferocious tyrants, she here on horseback, at the head of her army, exposed herself to the fire of the cannon, like the most veteran soldiers, and betrayed no symptoms of fear, although the bullets flew about her in all directions. When desired by the duke of Guise, and the constable de Montmorenci not to expose her person so much, the brave, but sanguinary Catharine replied, "Have I not more to lose than you, and do you think I have not as much courage?"
The walk, through la ville de Sandwiche, to the light houses, which are about two miles from Havre, is very pleasing. The path lay through flax and clover fields. In this part of the country, the farmers practise an excellent plan of rural economy, which is also used in Dorsetshire, and some few other counties, of confining their cattle by a string to a spot of pasture, until they have completely cleared it.
Upon the hill, ascending to the cliffs, are several very elegant chateaus and gardens, belonging to the principal inhabitants of the town.
Monsieur B——, the prefect de marine, has a beautiful residence here. We were accidentally stopping at his gate, which was open, to view the enchanting prospects, which it presented to us, when the polite owner observed us, and with that amiableness, and civility, which still distinguish the descendants of the ancient families of rank in France, of which he is one, requested us to enter, and walked with us round his grounds, which were disposed with great taste. He afterwards conducted us to his elegant house, and gave us dried fruit, and excellent burgundy, after which we walked round the village to the light houses. From him we learnt, that the farmers here, as in England, were very respectable, and had amassed considerable wealth during the war. The approach to the light houses, through a row of elms, is very pleasant; they stand upon an immense high perpendicular cliff, and are lofty square buildings, composed of fine light brown free stone, the entrance is handsome, over which there is a good room, containing four high windows, and a lodging room for the people, who have the care of the light, the glass chamber of which we reached, after ascending to a considerable height, by a curious spiral stone stair case. The lantern is composed, of ninety immense reflecting lamps, which are capable of being raised or depressed with great ease by means of an iron windlass. This large lustre, is surrounded with plates of the thickest french glass, fixed in squares of iron, and discharges a prodigious light, in dark nights. A furnace of coal, was formerly used, but this has been judiciously superseded by the present invention. Round the lantern, is a gallery with an iron balustrade, the view from this elevation upon the beach, the entrance of the Seine, Honfleur (where our Henry III is said to have fought the french armies, and to have distinguished himself by his valour) the distant hills of Lower Normandy, and the ocean, is truly grand. It brought to my mind that beautiful description of Shakspeare—
—————————The murmuring surge That on th' unnumbered idle pebbles chafes, Cannot be heard so high: I'll look no more, Lest my brain turn, and the deficient sight Topple down headlong.
We did not visit the other tower, as it was uniform with this. The woman who has the charge of the light, was very good humoured, and very talkative, she seemed delighted to show us every thing, and said she preferred seeing englishmen in her tower as friends, to the view she frequently had of them from it as enemies, alluding to the long, and masterly blockade of this port by a squadron of english frigates. She carried us to her little museum, as she called it, where she had arranged, very neatly, a considerable collection of fossils, shells, and petrefactions. Here she showed us with great animation, two british cannon balls, which during the blockade, had very nearly rendered her husband and herself, as cold and as silent as any of the petrefactions in her collection. In this little cabinet was her bed, where amidst the war of winds and waves, she told us she slept as sound as a consul.
In the basins of Havre, we saw several rafts, once so much talked of, constructed for the real, or ostensible purpose of conveying the invading legions of France, to the shores of Great Britain. I expected to have seen an immense floating platform, but the vessels which we saw, were made like brigs of an unusual breadth, with two low masts. The sincerity of this project has been much disputed, but that the french government expended considerable sums upon the scheme, I have no doubt.
I must not omit to mention, the admirable mode, which they have here, and in most parts of France, of constructing their carts. They are placed upon very high wheels, the load is generally arranged so as to create an equipoise, and is raised by an axle, fastened near the shafts. I was informed by a merchant, that a single horse can draw with ease thirty-six hundred weight, in one of these carts. These animals have a formidable appearance, owing to a strange custom which the french have, of covering the collar, with an entire sheep's skin, which gives them the appearance of having an enormous shaggy mane.
At night, we settled our bills which amounted to forty livres each. A considerable charge in this country, but we had lived well, and had not thought it worth our while, on account of the probable shortness of our stay, to bargain for our lodging, and board, a plan generally proper to be used by those, who mean to remain for some length of time, in any place in France.
Cheap travelling to Paris.—Diligences.—French Postilions.—Spanish Postilions.—Norman Horses.—Bolbec.—Natives of Caux.—Ivetot.—Return of Religion.—Santerre.—Jacobin.—The Mustard-pot.—National Property.
Before I proceed on my journey, I must beg leave to present a very cheap mode of travelling to Paris, from Havre, to those who have more time at their command than I had. It was given to me by a respectable gentleman, and an old traveller.
Sols. From Havre to Honfleur, by the passage-boat 10 From Honfleur to Pontaudemar, by land 3 From Pontaudemar to Labouille 3 From Labouille to Rouen, by water 12 From Rouen to Rolleboise, by land 6 From Rolleboise to Pontoise, by water 30 From Pontoise to Paris, by land 30
This progress, however, is tedious and uncertain.
At day-break we seated ourselves in the diligence. All the carriages of this description have the appearance of being the result of the earliest efforts in the art of coach building. A more uncouth clumsy machine can scarcely be imagined. In the front is a cabriolet fixed to the body of the coach, for the accommodation of three passengers, who are protected from the rain above, by the projecting roof of the coach, and in front by two heavy curtains of leather, well oiled, and smelling somewhat offensively, fastened to the roof. The inside, which is capacious, and lofty, and will hold six people with great comfort, is lined with leather padded, and surrounded with little pockets, in which the travellers deposit their bread, snuff, night caps, and pocket handkerchiefs, which generally enjoy each others company in the same delicate depositary. From the roof depends a large net work, which is generally crouded with hats, swords, and band boxes, the whole is convenient, and when all parties are seated and arranged, the accommodations are by no means unpleasant.
Upon the roof, on the outside, is the imperial, which is generally filled with six or seven persons more, and a heap of luggage, which latter also occupies the basket, and generally presents a pile, half as high again as the coach, which is secured by ropes and chains, tightened by a large iron windlass, which also constitutes another appendage of this moving mass. The body of the carriage rests upon large thongs of leather, fastened to heavy blocks of wood, instead of springs, and the whole is drawn by seven horses. The three first are fastened to the cross bar, the rest are in pairs, all in rope harness and tackling. The near horse of the three first, is mounted by the postilion, in his great jack boots, which are always placed, with much ceremony, like two tubs, on the right side of his Rosinante, just before he ascends. These curious protectors of his legs, are composed of wood, and iron hoops, softened within by stuffing, and give him all the dignity of riding in a pair of upright portmanteaus. With a long lash whip in his hand, a dirty night cap and an old cocked hat upon his head, hallooing alternately "a gauche, a droit," and a few occasional sacre dieus, which seem always properly applied, and perfectly understood, the merry postilion drives along his cattle. I must not fail to do justice to the scientific skill with which he manages on horseback, his long and heavy coach whip; with this commanding instrument, he can reanimate by a touch, each halting muscle of his lagging animals, can cut off an annoying fly, and with the loud cracking of its thong, he announces, upon his entrance into a town, the approach of his heavy, and clattering cavalcade. Each of these diligences is provided with a conducteur, who rides upon the imperial, and is responsible throughout the journey, for the comfort of the passengers and safety of the luggage. For his trouble the passenger pays him only thirty sols for himself, and fifteen more for the different postillions, to be divided amongst them, for these the donor is thanked with a low bow, and many "bien obliges," in the name of himself and his contented comrades.
Our companions proved to be some of our old friends the emigrants, who had thrown aside their marine dishabille, and displayed the appearance of gentlemen. We were much pleased with again meeting each other. Their conversation upon the road was very interesting, it was filled with sincere regret for the afflictions of their country, and with expressions of love and gratitude towards the english. They told us many little tales of politeness, and humanity which they had received from my countrymen in the various towns, where their destiny had placed them. One displayed, with amiable pride, a snuff box, which he had received as a parting token of esteem, another a pocket book, and each was the bearer of some little affectionate proof of merit, good conduct, or friendship.
One of these gentlemen, the abbe de l'H——, whose face was full of expression, tinctured with much grief, and attendant indisposition, with a manner, and in a tone, which were truly affecting, concluded a little narrative of some kindness which he had received, by saying, "if the english and my country are not friends, it shall not be for want of my prayers. I fled from France without tears, for the preservation of my life, but when I left England, I confess it, I could not help shedding some." They did not disgrace the generous abbe—such a nation was worthy of such feelings.
Our horses were of the norman breed, small, stout, short, and full of spirit, and to the honour of those who have the care of them, in excellent condition. I was surprised to see these little animals running away with our cumbrous machine, at the rate of six or seven miles an hour.
We traced the desolating hand of the revolution as soon as we ascended the first hill.
Our road lay through a charming country. Upon the sides of its acclivities, surrounded by the most romantic scenery of woods and corn fields, we saw ruined convents, and roofless village churches, through the shattered casements of which the wind had free admission.
We breakfasted at a neat town called Bolbec, seven leagues from Havre, where we had excellent coffee, butter, and rolls. All the household of our inn looked clean, happy, and sprightly.
This is the principal town of the province of Caux, the women of which dress their heads in a very peculiar, and in my humble opinion, unbecoming manner. I made a hasty sketch of one of them who entered the yard of the inn with apples for sale.
Such a promontory of cap and lace I never before beheld. She had been at a village marriage that morning, and was bedecked in all her finery. The people of this province are industrious and rich, and consequently respectable. At the theatre at Rouen I afterwards saw, in one of the front boxes, a lady from this country, dressed after its fashion; the effect was so singular that it immediately induced me to distinguish her, from the rest of the audience, but her appearance seemed to excite no curiosity with any other person. Our breakfast cost us each fifteen sous, to which may be added two sols more, for the maids, who waited upon us with cheerful smiles, and habited in the full cushvois costume, and which also entitled us to kisses and curtsies. I beg leave to oppose our breakfast charge to the rumours which prevailed in England, that this part of France was then in a state of famine. From this town, the road was beautifully lined with beech, chesnut, and apple trees. The rich yellow of the rape seed which overspread the surface of many of the fields on each side, was very animating to the eye. From this vegetable the country people express oil, and of the pulp of it make cakes, which the norman horses will fatten upon. We had an early dinner at Ivetot, five leagues distant from Bolbec. In ancient periods this miserable town was once the capital of a separate kingdom. In our dining room were three beds, or rather we dined in the bed room. I use the former expression out of compliment to the pride of our little host, who replied with some loftiness to one of our companions, who, upon entering the room, and seeing so many accommodations for repose, exclaimed, with the sharpness of appetite, "my good host, we want to eat, and not to sleep;" "gentlemen," said our mortified little maitre d'hotel, "this chamber is the dining room, and it is thought a very good one." From its appearance I should have believed him, had he sworn that it was the state room of the palace of this ancient principality, of which this wretched town was once the capital. It reminded me of an anecdote related by an ancient english lady of fashion, when she first paid her respects to James I, soon after his accession to the crown of England. She mentions in her memoir, that his royal drawing room was so very dirty, that after the levee she was obliged to recur to her comb for relief. In plain truth, James I and his court were lousy.
Our master of the house was both cook and waiter. At dinner, amongst several other dishes, we had some stewed beef, I requested to be favoured with a little mustard, our host very solemnly replied, "I am very sorry, citizen, but I have none, if you had been fortunate enough to have been here about three weeks since, you might have had some." It was more than I wished, so I ate my beef very contentedly without it. With our desert we had a species of cake called brioche, composed of egg, flour, and water; it is in high estimation in France.
It was in this town only that I saw a specimen of that forlorn wretchedness and importunity, which have been said to constitute the general nuisance of this country.
In the shop of a brazier here, was exposed, a new leaden crucifix, about two feet and a half high, for sale; it had been cast preparatory to the reinauguration of the archbishop of Rouen, which was to take place upon the next Sunday week, in the great cathedral of that city.
In consequence of the restoration of religion, the beggars, who have in general considerable cleverness, and know how to turn new circumstances to advantage, had just learnt a fresh mode of soliciting money, by repeating the Lord's Prayer in French and Latin. We were treated with this sort of importunate piety for near a mile, after we left Ivetot.
I have before mentioned, that the barbarous jargon of the revolution is rapidly passing away. It is only here and there, that its slimy track remains. The time is not very distant when Frenchmen wished to be known by the name of Jacobins; it is now become an appellation of reproach, even amongst the surviving aborigines of the revolution. As an instance of it, a naval officer of rank and intelligence, who joined us at Ivetot, informed us, that he had occasion, upon some matters of business, to meet Santerre a few days before; that inhuman and vulgar revolutionist, who commanded the national guards when they surrounded the scaffold during the execution of their monarch. In the course of their conversation, Santerre, speaking of a third person, exclaimed, "I cannot bear that man; he is a Jacobin." Let all true revolutionary republicans cry out, Bravo! at this.
This miscreant lives unnoticed, in a little village near Paris, upon a slender income, which he has made in trade, not in the trade of blood; for it appears that Robespierre was not a very liberal patron of his servants. He kept his blood-hounds lean, and keen, and poorly fed them with the rankest offal.
After a dusty journey, through a very rich and picturesque country, of near eighty miles, we entered the beautiful boulevards of Rouen, about seven o'clock in the evening, which embowered us from the sun. Their shade was delicious. I think them finer than those of Paris. The noble elms, which compose them in four stately rows, are all nearly of the same height. Judge of my surprise—Upon our rapidly turning the corner of a street, as we entered the city, I suddenly found coach, horses and all, in the aisle of an ancient catholic church. The gates were closed upon us, and in a moment from the busy buzzing of the streets, we were translated into the silence of shattered tombs, and the gloom of cloisters: the only light which shone upon us, issued through fragments of stained glass, and the apertures which were formerly filled with it.
 Environs of a town, planted with stately trees.
My surprise, however, was soon quieted, by being informed, that this church, having devolved to the nation as its property, by force of a revolutionary decree, had been afterwards sold for stables, to one of the owners of the Rouen diligences.
An old unsaleable cabriolet occupied the place of the altar; and the horses were very quietly eating their oats in the sacristy!!
At the Bureau, we paid twelve livres and a half for our places and luggage from Havre to this town.
A female french fib.—Military and Civil Procession.—Madame G.—The Review.—Mons. l'Abbe.—Bridge of Boats.—The Quay.—Exchange.—Theatre.—Rouen.—Cathedral.—St. Ouens.—Prince of Waldec.—Maid of Orleans.
Having collected together all our luggage, and seen it safely lodged in a porter's wheelbarrow, Captain C. and I bade adieu to our fellow travellers, and to these solemn and unsuitable habitations of ostlers and horses, and proceeded through several narrow streets, lined with lofty houses, the shops of which were all open, and the shopkeepers, chiefly women, looked respectable and sprightly, with gay bouquets in their bosoms, to the Hotel de l'Europe; it is a fine inn, to which we had been recommended at Havre, kept by Madame F——, who, with much politeness, and many captivating movements, dressed a-la-Grec, with immense golden earrings, approached us, and gave us a little piece of information, not very pleasant to travellers somewhat discoloured by the dust of a long and sultry day's journey, who wanted comfortable rooms, fresh linen, a little coffee, and a good night's repose: her information was, that her house was completely full, but that she would send to an upholsterer to fit up two beds for us, in a very neat room, which she had just papered and furnished, opposite to the porter's lodge (all the great inns and respectable townhouses in France have great gates, and a porter's lodge, at the entrance.) As we wished to have three rooms, we told her, we were friends of Messrs. G——, (the principal merchants of Rouen). She said, they were very amiable men, and were pleased to send all their friends to her house (a little french fib of Madame F——'s, by the by, as will appear hereafter); and she was truly sorry that she could not accommodate us better. We looked into the room, which also looked into the street, was exposed to all its noise, and very small. So we made our bows to Madame F——, and proceeded with our wheelbarrow to the Hotel de Poitiers—a rival house. It is situated in the beautiful boulevards, which I have mentioned, and is part of a row of fine stonebuilt houses. Upon our ringing the bell, Madame P—— presented herself. We told her, we were just arrived at Rouen, that we had the honour of being known to Messrs. G——, and should be happy to be placed under her roof, and wished to have two lodging rooms and a sitting room to ourselves. Madame P——, who possessed that sort of good and generous heart, which nature, for its better preservation, had lodged in a comfortable envelope of comely plumpness, observed, that Messrs. G—— were gentlemen of great respectability, were her patrons, and always sent their friends to her house (a point upon which these rival dames were at issue, but the truth was with Madame P——); that she would do all in her power to make us happy; but at present, on account of her house being very crowded, she could only offer us two bedrooms. We were too tired to think of any further peregrinations of discovery; so we entered our bed-rooms, which, like most of the chambers in France, had brick floors without any carpetting; they were, however, clean; and, after ordering a good fire in one of them (for the sudden and unusual frost, which, in the beginning of summer, committed so much ravage throughout Europe, commenced the day we had first the honour of seeing Madame P——); and, after enjoying those comforts which weary wanderers require, we mounted our lofty beds, and went to rest.
The next day we presented our letter, and ourselves, to Madame G——, the amiable mother of the gentlemen I have mentioned. She received us with great politeness, and immediately arranged a dinner party for us, for that day. It being rather early in the morning, we were admitted into her chamber, a common custom of receiving early visits in France.
About eleven o'clock we saw a splendid procession of all the military and civil authorities to the hotel of the prefect, which was opposite to our inn.
 Hotel, in France, means either an inn, or private house of consequence.
The object of this cavalcade was to congratulate the archbishop of Rouen (who was then upon a visit to the prefect, until his own palace was ready to receive him) on his elevation to the see.
This spectacle displayed the interference of God, in thus making the former enemies of his worship pay homage to his ministers, after a long reign of atheism and persecution.
About twelve o'clock, which is the hour of parade throughout the republic, we went to the Champ de Mars, and saw a review of the 20th regiment of chasseurs, under the command of generals St. Hiliare and Ruffin, who, as well as the regiment, had particularly distinguished themselves at Marengo.
The men were richly appointed, and in general well mounted. They all wore mustachios. They were just arrived from Amiens, where, as a mark of honour, they had been quartered during the negotiation.
The officers were superbly attired. St. Hiliare is a young man, and in person much resembles his patron and friend, the first consul; and, they say, in abilities also.
Some of the horses were of a dissimilar size and colour, which had a bad effect; but I was informed, upon making the remark, that they had lost many in battle, and had not had time properly to replace them. They were all strong and fiery, and went through their evolutions with surprising swiftness.
At dinner our party was very agreeable. Next to me sat a little abbe, who appeared to be in years, but full of vivacity, and seemed to be much esteemed by every person present. During the time of terrour (as the French emphatically call the gloomy reign of Robespierre) the blood of this good man, who, from his wealth, piety, and munificence, possessed considerable influence in Rouen, was sought after with keen pursuit. Madame G—— was the saviour of his life, by concealing him, previous to her own imprisonment, for two years, in different cellars, under her house, which she rendered as warm and as comfortable as circumstances, and the nature of the concealment, would allow. In one of these cells of humane secresy, this worthy man has often eaten his solitary and agitated meal, whilst the soldiers of the tyrant, who were quartered upon his protectress, were carousing in the kitchen immediately above him.
Soon after our coffee, which, in this country, immediately succeeds the dinner, we went to view the bridge of boats, so celebrated in history. This curious structure was contrived by an augustine friar named Michael Bougeois, it is composed of timber, regularly paved, in squares which contain the stories, and is 1000 feet in length; it commences from the middle of the quay of Rouen, and reaches over to the Fauxbourg of St. Sever, and carries on the communication with the country which lies south of the city. It was begun in the year 1626, below it are the ruins of the fine bridge of 13 arches, built by the empress Maud, daughter of Henry I of England. This ingenious fabric rests upon 19 immense barges, which rise and fall with the flowing and subsiding of the tide. When vessels have occasion to pass it, a portion of the platform sufficient to admit their passage is raised, and rolled over the other part. In the winter, when any danger is apprehended from the large flakes of ice, which float down the river, the whole is taken to pieces in an hour. The expense of keeping it in repair is estimated at 10000 livres, or 400 pounds sterling per annum, and is defrayed by government, it being the highroad to Picardy. Upon the whole, although this bridge is so much admired, I must confess it appeared to me a heavy performance, unsuitable to the wealth, and splendour of the city of Rouen, and below the taste and ingenuity of modern times. A handsome light stone structure, with a centre arch covered with a drawbridge, for the passage of vessels of considerable burden, or a lofty flying iron bridge, would be less expensive, more safe, and much more ornamental.
 The french feet are to the english as 1068 to 1000.
The view from this bridge up the Seine, upon the islands below mount St. Catharine, is quite enchanting. Upon the quay, although it was Sunday, a vast number of people were dancing, drinking, and attending shows and lotteries. Here were people of various nations, parading up and down in the habits and dresses of their respective countries, which produced quite the effect of a masquerade. The river Seine is so deep at this place, that ships of three hundred tons burden are moored close to the quay, and make a very fine appearance. The exchange for the merchants is parallel with the centre of the quay, and is a long paved building of about 400 feet in length, open at top, having a handsome iron balustrade, and seats towards the Seine, and a high stone wall towards the town. Over all the great gates of the city, is written, in large characters, "Liberty, Equality, Humanity, Fraternity or Death:" the last two words have been painted over, but are still faintly legible.
In the evening we went to the french opera, which was very crowded. The boxes were adorned with genteel people, and many beautiful young women. The theatre is very large, elegant, and handsome, and the players were good. I was struck with the ridiculous antics, and gestures of the chef in the orchestra, a man whose office it is to beat time to the musicians. In the municipality box which was in the centre, lined with green silk, and gold, were two fine young women who appeared to be ladies of fashion, and consequence; they were dressed after the antique, in an attire which, for lightness, and scantiness I never saw equalled, till I saw it surpassed at Paris. They appeared to be clothed only in jewels, and a little muslin, very gracefully disposed, the latter, to borrow a beautiful expression, had the appearance of "woven air."—From emotions of gratitude, for the captivating display which they made, I could not help offering a few fervent wishes, that the light of the next day might find them preserved from the dreaded consequences of a very bitter cold night.
Rouen, upon the whole, is a fine city, very large, and populous. It was formerly the capital of the kingdom of Normandy. It stands upon a plain, screened on three sides, by high, and picturesque mountains. It is near two leagues in compass, exclusive of the fauxbourgs of St. Severs, Cauchoise, Bouveul, St. Hiliare, Martainville and Beauvisme. Its commerce was very celebrated, and is returning with great rapidity. Most of the fine buildings in this city, and its environs are Anglo-Norman antiquities, and were founded by the English before they left Normandy.
The cathedral is a grand, and awful pile of gothic architecture, built by our William the Conqueror. It has two towers, one of which, is surmounted by a wooden spire covered with lead, and is of the prodigious height of 395 french feet, the other is 236 feet high.
The additional wooden spire, and the inequality of the towers produce rather an unfavourable effect. During the revolution, this august edifice was converted into a sulphur and gunpowder manufactory, by which impious prostitution, the pillars are defaced, and broken, and the whole is blackened, and dingy.
The costly cenotaphs of white marble, enriched with valuable ornaments containing the hearts of our Henry III, and Richard I, kings of England, and dukes of Normandy, which were formerly placed on each side of the grand altarpiece, were removed during the revolution.
The altarpiece is very fine. Grand preparations were making for the inauguration of the archbishop, which was to take place the following Sunday. There were not many people at mass; those who were present, appeared to be chiefly composed of old women, and young children. Over the charity box fastened to one of the pillars was a board upon which was written in large letters "Hospices reconnoissance et prosperite a l'homme genereux et sensible." I saw few people affected by this benedictory appeal. I next visited the church of St. Ouens, which is not so large as the cathedral, but surpasses that, and every other sacred edifice I ever beheld, in point of elegance. This graceful pile, has also had its share of sufferings, during the reign of revolutionary barbarism. Its chaste, and elegant pillars, have been violated by the smoke of sulphur and wood; and in many places, present to the distressed eye, chasms, produced by massy forges, which were erected against them, for casting ball. The costly railing of brass, gilt, which half surrounded the altar, has been torn up, and melted into cannon. The large circular stained window over the entrance called La Rose du Portail is very beautiful, and wholly unimpaired. The organs in all the churches are broken and useless. They experienced this fate, in consequence of their having been considered as fanatical instruments during the time of terrour. The fine organ of St. Ouens is in this predicament, and will require much cost to repair it.
 The ornaments of the churches of England experienced a similar fate from the commissioners of the Long Parliament, in 1643.
I cannot help admiring the good sense which in all the churches of France is displayed, by placing the organ upon a gallery over the grand entrance, by which the spectator has an uninterrupted view, and commands the whole length of the interior building. In the English cathedrals, it is always placed midway between the choir and church, by which, this desired effect is lost.—St. Ouens is now open for worship.
In spite of all the devastations of atheistic Vandalism, this exquisite building, like the holy cause to which it is consecrated, having withstood the assailing storm, and elevating its meek, but magnificent head above its enemies, is mildly ready to receive them into her bosom, still disfigured with the traces of blind and barbarous ferocity.
Behind the altar, I met the celebrated prince of Waldec. He, who possessed of royal honours, and ample domains, revolted in the day of battle, from his imperial master, and joined the victorious and pursuing foe. I beheld him in a shaded corner of one of the cloisters of St. Ouens, in poor attire, with an old umbrella under his arm, scantily provided for, and scarcely noticed by his new friends. A melancholy, but just example of the rewards due to treachery and desertion.
I have described these churches only generally, it cannot be expected of me to enter into an elaborate history of them, or of any other public edifices. The detail, if attempted, might prove dull, and is altogether incompatible with the limited time, and nature of my excursion.
After we left St. Ouens, we visited the Square aux Vaux, where the celebrated heroine of Lorrain, Joan d'Arc, commonly called the Maid of Orleans was cruelly burnt at the stake, for a pretended sorceress, but in fact to gratify the barbarous revenge of the duke of Bedford, the then regent of France; because after signal successes, she conducted her sovereign, Charles, in safety, to Rheims, where he was crowned, and obtained decisive victories over the English arms. We here saw the statue erected by the French, to the memory of this remarkable woman, which as an object of sculpture seems to possess very little worthy of notice.
First Consul's Advertisement.—Something ridiculous.—Eggs.—Criminal Military Tribunal.—French Female Confidence.—Town House.—Convent of Jesuits.—Guillotine.—Governor W——.
Upon looking up against the corner wall of a street, surrounded by particoloured advertisements of quack medicines, wonderful cures, new invented essences, judgments of cassation, rewards for robbers, and bills of the opera, I beheld Bonaparte's address to the people of France, to elect him first consul for life. I took it for granted that the spanish proverb of "tell me with whom you are, and I will tell you what you are," was not to be applied in this instance, on account of the company in which the Consular application, by a mere fortuitous coincidence, happened to be placed.
A circumstance occurred at this time, respecting this election, which was rather ridiculous, and excited considerable mirth at Paris. Upon the first appearance of the election book of the first consul, in one of the departments, some wag, instead of subscribing his name, immediately under the title of the page, "shall Napoleone Bonaparte be first consul for life?" wrote the following words, "I can't tell."
This trifling affair affords rather a favourable impression of the mildness of that government, which could inspire sufficient confidence to hazard such a stroke of pleasantry. It reached Mal Maison with great speed, but is said to have occasioned no other sensation there, than a little merriment. Carnot's bold negative was a little talked of, but as it was solitary, it was considered harmless. To the love of finery which the french still retain to a certain degree, I could alone attribute the gay appearance of the eggs in the market, upon which had been bestowed a very smart stain of lilac colour. The effect was so singular that I could not help noting it down.
On the third day after our arrival in this city, we attended the trial of a man who belonged to one of the banditti which infest the country round this city. The court was held in the hall of the ancient parliament house, and was composed of three civil judges (one of whom presided) three military judges, and two citizens. The arrangements of the court, which was crowded, were excellent, and afforded uninterrupted accommodations to all its members, by separate doors and passages allotted to each, and also to the people, who were permitted to occupy the large area in front, which gradually rose from the last seats of the persons belonging to the court, and enabled every spectator to have a perfect view of the whole. Appropriate moral mottoes were inscribed in characters of gold, upon the walls. The judges wore long laced bands, and robes of black, lined with light blue silk, with scarfs of blue and silver fringe, and sat upon an elevated semicircular bench, raised upon a flight of steps, placed in a large alcove, lined with tapestry. The secretaries, and subordinate officers were seated below them. On the left the prisoner was placed, without irons, in the custody of two gendarmes, formerly called marechaussees, who had their long swords drawn. These soldiers have a very military appearance, and are a fine, and valuable body of men. I fear the respectable impression which I would wish to convey of them will suffer, when I inform my reader, that they are servants of the police, and answer to our Bow-street runners. The swiftness with which they pursue, and apprehend offenders, is surprising. We were received with politeness, and conducted to a convenient place for hearing, and seeing all that passed. The accusateur general who sat on the left, wore a costume similar to that of the judges, without the scarf. He opened the trial by relating the circumstances, and declaiming upon the enormity of the offence, by which it appeared that the prisoner stood charged with robbery, accompanied with breach of hospitality; which, in that country, be the amount of the plunder ever so trifling, is at present capital. The address of the public accuser was very florid, and vehement, and attended by violent gestures, occasionally graceful. The pleaders of Normandy are considered as the most eloquent men in France, I have heard several of them, but they appear to me, to be too impassioned. Their motions in speaking frequently look like madness. He ransacked his language to furnish himself with reproachful epithets against the miserable wretch by the side of him, who with his hands in his bosom appeared to listen to him, with great sang froid. The witnesses who were kept separate, previous to their giving their evidence, were numerous, and proved many robberies against him, attended with aggravated breaches of hospitality. The court entered into proofs of offences committed by the prisoner at different times, and upon different persons. The women who gave their testimony, exhibited a striking distinction between the timidity of english females, confronting the many eyes of a crowded court of justice, and the calm self possession with which the french ladies here delivered their unperturbed testimony. The charges were clearly proved, and the prisoner was called upon for his defence. Undismayed, and with all the practised hardihood of an Old Bailey felon, he calmly declared, that he purchased the pile of booty produced in the court, for sums of money, the amount of which, he did not then know, of persons he could not name, and in places which he did not remember. He had no advocate. The subject was next resumed, and closed by the official orator who opened it. The court retired, and the criminal was reconducted to the prison behind the hall. After an absence of about twenty minutes, a bell rang to announce the return of the judges, the prisoner entered now, escorted by a file of national guards, to hear his fate. The court then resumed its sitting. The president addressed the unhappy man, very briefly, recapitulated his offences, and read the decree of the republic upon them, by which he doomed him to lose his head at four o'clock that afternoon.
It was then ten minutes past one!! The face of this wretched being presented a fine subject for the pencil. His countenance was dark, marked, and melancholy; over it was spread the sallow tint of long imprisonment. His beard was unshorn, and he displayed an indifference to his fate, which not a little surprised me. He immediately retired, and upon his return to his cell, a priest was sent for to prepare him for his doom. At present, in the provinces, all criminal offences are tried before military tribunals, qualified, as I have described this to be, by a mixture of civil judges and bourgeois.
It is one of the peculiar characteristics of such tribunals, to order immediate punishment after conviction. In the present instance, the fate of the offender was well known, for his crimes were many, and manifest, and as the interval allowed by military courts between the sentence, and its fulfilment, is so very short, the administrators of the law had postponed his trial for five months from the period of his commitment, for the purpose of affording him an indulgent procrastination. This mode, although arising from merciful motives, is, I am aware, open to objection; but it would be unfair to comment upon laws, which prevailed in times of revolution, and are permitted only to operate, until the fine fabric of french criminal jurisprudence, which is now constructing, shall be presented to the people. To the honour of our country, and one of the greatest ornaments of the british bar, the honourable T. Erskine, in the year 1789, furnished the french, with some of these great principles of criminal law, which it was impossible to perfect during the long aera of convulsion, and instability which followed, and which will constitute a considerable part of that great, and humane code, which is about to be bestowed upon the nation, and which will, no doubt, prove to be one of the greatest blessings, which human wisdom can confer upon human weakness.
Its foundation is nearly similar to that of our own. The great and enlightened genius whose name I have mentioned, has provided that the contumacy of one juryman shall not be able to force the opinion of the rest.
After the court had broken up, I visited the town house, which, before the revolution, was the monastery of the benedictines, who, from what appeared of the remains of their establishment, must have been magnificently lodged, and well deserved during their existence, to bear the name of the blessed. The two grand staircases are very fine, and there is a noble garden behind. Upon entering the vestibule of the council chamber, formerly the refectory, I thought I was going behind the scenes of a theatre. It was nearly filled with allegorical banners, pasteboard and canvas arches of triumph, altars, emblems of liberty, and despotism, and all the scenic decorations suitable to the frenzied orgies of a republican fete. Thank God! they appeared to be tolerably well covered with dust and cobwebs. At the end of this noble room, seated upon a high pedestal, was the goddess of liberty, beautifully executed in marble. "Look at that sanguinary prostitute," cried Mons. G——, to me, pointing to the statue, "for years have we had liberty and bloodshed, thank Heaven! we are now no longer free." Upon which, he wrote his name in the first consul's book, which was here lying open, upon a table, for the purpose of receiving the suffrages of the department.
The laconic irony, and manner of the speaker, afforded me a tolerably good display of the nature of the blessings conferred upon the french, by their late political philosophy.
From this place I proceeded to the ci-devant convent of the jesuits, built by one of the munificent dukes de Bourbon. It is a magnificent oblong stone building. In the centre of the court was a tree of liberty, which, like almost all the other trees, dedicated to that goddess, which I saw, looked blighted, and sickly. I mention it as a fact, without alluding to any political sentiment whatever. It is a remark in frequent use in France, that the caps of liberty are without heads, and the trees of liberty without root. The poplar has been selected from all the other trees of the forest, for this distinguished honour, from a whimsical synonymy of its name with that of the people. In french, the poplar is called peuplier, and the word peuple signifies people. This fine building is now converted into an university of learning, and the fine arts. From the number of the students, I should suppose the fashionable fervour of study had not as yet reached Rouen.
The professor of philosophy, with great politeness sent a young man to show me the museum of pictures, for which purpose the church of the jesuits, is at present used. There are several paintings in it, the only fine one, was a dying Jesus by Vandyke, which was exquisite. Upon my expressing my admiration, a young student near me said "oui monsieur c'est tres jolie." This misapplied remark, from an easy and natural combination of sound, could not fail of seeming a little singular as applied to such a subject, but every thing that pleases in France is tres jolie. From this painting, I was, by importunity, led to view the other parts of the collection, which were composed of large pictures, by french masters; and so natural is local prejudice, every where, that I was almost held down, before the works of the best artists of Rouen, upon which, as I am at liberty here, I shall beg to make no comment.
In the students' room, below, were some paintings curious, and valuable only, from their great antiquity, and a few good copies by the pupils. A picture was pointed out to me as a very fine thing, the subject was a fat little cherub, with a full flowing wig, fiddling to St. Francis, who from his gloomy appearance seemed not to possess half the musical genius of a dancing bear.
Upon my return through the market place, I beheld the miserable wretch, at whose trial I was present in the morning, led out to execution. He was seated upon the bottom of a cart, stripped above to his shirt, which was folded back, his arms were pinioned close behind, and his hair was closely cropped, to prevent the stroke of the fatal knife from being impeded. A priest was seated in a chair beside him. As the object of my excursion was to contemplate the manners of the people, I summoned resolution to view this gloomy and painful spectacle, which seemed to excite but little sensation in the market place, where its petty traffic and concerns proceeded with their accustomed activity, and the women at their stalls, which extended to the foot of the scaffold, appeared to be impressed only with the solicitude of selling their vegetables to the highest bidder. A small body of the national guards, and a few boys and idlers surrounded the fatal spot. The guillotine, painted red, was placed upon a scaffold, of about five feet high. As soon as the criminal ascended the upper step which led to it he mounted, by the direction of the executioner, a little board, like a shutter, raised upright to receive him, to which he was strapped, turned down flat, and run into a small ring of iron half opened and made to admit the neck, the top part of which was then closed upon it, a black leather curtain was placed before the head, from which a valve depended, which communicated to a tub, placed under the scaffold to receive the blood, the executioner then touched a long thin iron rod, connected with the top of the instrument, and in a moment the axe descended, which was in the form of a square, cut diagonally, heavily charged with lead. The executioner and his assistants placed the body in a shell, half filled with saw dust, which was almost completely stained over with the brown blood of former executions; they then picked up the head, from a bag into which it had fallen, within the curtain, and having placed it in the same gloomy depository, lowered the whole down to the sextons, who covering it with a pall bore it off to the place of burial.
The velocity of this mode of execution can alone recommend it. The pangs of death are passed almost in the same moment, which presents to the terrified eye of the sufferer the frightful apparatus of his disgraceful dissolution. It is a dreary subject to discuss; but surely it is a matter of deep regret, that in England, criminals doomed to die, from the uncertain and lingering nature of their annihilation, are seen writhing in the convulsions of death during a period dreadful to think of. It is said, that at the late memorable execution of an african governor for murder, the miserable delinquent was beheld for fifteen minutes struggling with the torments of his untimely fate! The guillotine is far preferable to the savage mode, formerly used in France, of breaking the criminal upon the wheel, and leaving him afterwards to perish in the most poignant agonies.
As I have alluded to the fate of governor W——, I will conclude this chapter by relating an anecdote of the terror and infatuation of guilt, displayed in the conduct of this wretched man, in the presence of a friend of mine, from whom I received it—A few years before he suffered, fatigued with life, and pursued by poverty, and the frightful remembrance of his offences, then almost forgotten by the world, he left the south of France for Calais, with an intention of passing over to England, to offer himself up to its laws, not without the cherished hope that a lapse of twenty years had swept away all evidence of his guilt.
At the time of his arrival at this port town, the hotel in which Madame H—— was waiting for a packet to Dover was very crowded—the landlord requested of her, that she would be pleased to permit two gentlemen, who were going to England, to take some refreshment in her room; these persons proved to be the unfortunate Brooks, a king's messenger, charged with important dispatches to his court, and governor W——. The latter was dressed like a decayed gentleman, and bore about him all the indications of his extreme condition. They had not been seated at the table long, before the latter informed the former, with evident marks of perturbation, that his name was W——, that having been charged in England with offences, which, if true, subjected him to heavy punishment, he was anxious to place himself at the disposal of its laws, and requested of him, as he was an english messenger, that he would consider him as his prisoner, and take charge of him.