Images de page

the bloodieft wars that have difgraced and exhaufted christendom. At the hotel de Bourbon I was well lodged, fed, and attended: an excellent inn.-22 miles.

The 2d. Pafs Bouchaine to Valenciennes, another old town, which, like the rest of the Flemish ones, manifefts more the wealth of former than of present times.-18 miles.

The 3d, to Orchees; and the 4th to Lifle, which is furrounded by more windmills for expreffing the oil of colefeed, than are to be feen any where else I fuppofe in the world. Pafs fewer drawbridges and works of fortification here than at Calais; the great ftrength of this place is in its mines and other fouteraines. In the evening to the play.

The cry here for a war with England amazed me. Every one I talked with faid, it was beyond a doubt the English had called the Pruffian army into Holland; and that the motives in France for a war were numerous and manifeft. It is eafy enough to discover, that the origin of all this violence is the commercial treaty, which is execrated here, as the moft fatal ftroke to their manufactures they ever experienced. These people have the true monopolizing ideas; they would involve four-andtwenty millions of people in the certain miferies of a war, rather than fee the intereft of those who confume fabrics, preferred to the intereft of those who make them. The advantages reaped by four-and-twenty millions of confumers are lighter than a feather compared with the inconveniences fuftained by half a million of manufacturers. Meet many fmall carts in the town, drawn each by a dog: I was told by the owner of one, what appears to me incredible, that his dog would draw 700 lb. half a league. The wheels of these carts are very high, relative to the height of the dog, fo that his cheft is a good deal below the axle. The 6th. In leaving Lifle, the reparation of a bridge made me take a road on the banks of the canal, clofe under the works of the citadel. They appear to be very numerous, and the fituation exceedingly advantageous, on a gently rifing ground, furrounded by low watry meadows, which may with cafe be drowned. Pass Darmentiers, a large paved town. Sleep at Mont Caffel.30 miles.

The 7th. Caffel is on the fummit of the only hill in Flanders. They are now repairing the bafon at Dunkirk, fo famous in history for an imperiousness in England, which she must have paid dearly for. Dunkirk, Gibraltar, and the statue of Louis XIV. in the Place de Victoire, I place in the fame political class of national arrogance. Many men are now at work on this bason, and, when finished, it will not contain more than twenty or twenty-five frigates; and appears to an unlearned eye, a ridiculous object for the jealoufy of a great nation, unless it profeffes to be jealous of privateers.-I made enquiries concerning the import of wool from England, and was affured that it was a very trifling object. I may here obferve, that when I left the, town, my little cloak-bag was examined as fcrupulously as if I had just left England, with a cargo of prohibited

[blocks in formation]

goods, and again at a fort two miles off. Dunkirk being a free port, the customhoufe is at the gates. What are we to think of our woollen manufacturers in England, when fuing for their wool-bill, of infamous memory, bringing one Thomas Wilkinfon from Dunkirk quay, to the bar of the English Houfe of Lords to fwear that wool paffes from Dunkirk without entry, duty, or any thing being required, at double cuftom-houses, for a check on each other, where they examine even a cloak-bag. On fuch evidence, did our legiflature, in the true fhop-keeping spirit, pass an act of fines, pains, and penalties against all the woolgrowers of England. Walk to Roffendal near the town, where Monf. le Brun has an improvement on the Dunes, which he very obligingly fhewed me. Between the town and that place are a great number of neat little houses, built with each its garden, and one or two fields inclofed of moft wretched blowing dune fand, naturally as white as fnow, but improved by induftry. The magic of PROPERTY turns fand to gold.-18 miles.

The 8th. Leave Dunkirk, where the Concierge a good inn, as indeed I have found all in Flanders. Pafs Gravelline, which, to my unlearned eyes, feems the strongest place I have yet feen, at least the works above ground are more numerous than at any other. Ditches, ramparts, and drawbridges without end, This is a part of the art military I like it implies defence, and leaving rafcality to neighbours. If Gengifchan or Tamerlane had met with fuch places as Gravelline or Lifle in their way, where would their conquefts and extirpations of the human race have been?-Reach Calais. And here ends a journey which has given me a great deal of pleasure, and more information than I should have expected in a kingdom not fo well cultivated as our own. It has been the first of my foreign travels; and has with me confirmed the idea, that to know our own country well, we muft fee fomething of others. Nations figure by comparison; and those ought to be efteemed the benefactors of the human race, who have most established public profperity on the bafis of private happinefs. To afcertain how far this has been the cafe with the French, has been one material object of my tour. It is an enquiry of great range, and no trifling complexity; but a fingle excurfion is too little to truft to. I must come again and again before I venture conclufions.-25 25 miles,

Wait at Deffeins three days for a wind (the duke and dutchefs of Gloucester are in the fame inn and fituation) and for a pacquet. A captain behaved fhabbilly deceived me, and was hired by a family that would admit nobody but themselves:-I did not ask what nation this family was of.― Dover—London -Bradfield;-and have more pleafure in giving my little girl a French doll, than in viewing Versailles.


THE long journey I had last year taken in France, fuggefted a variety of reflections on the agriculture, and on the fources and progrefs of national profperity in that kingdom; in spite of myself, thefe ideas fermented in my mind; and while I was drawing conclufions relative to the political ftate of that great country, in every circumftance connected with its husbandry. I found, at each moment of my reflection, the importance of making as regular a furvey of the whole as was poffible for a traveller to effect. Thus inftigated, I determined to attempt finishing what I had fortunately enough begun.

JULY 30. Left Bradfield; and arrived at Calais.—161 miles.

AUGUST 5. The next day I took the road to St. Omers. Pafs the bridge Sans Pareil, which ferves a double purpose, paffing two ftreams at once; but it has been praised beyond its merit, and coft more than it was worth., St. Omers contains little deferving notice; and if I could direct the legislatures of England and Ireland, fhould contain still less :-—why are catholics to emigrate in order to be ill educated abroad, instead of being allowed inftitutions that would educate them well at home? The country is feen to advantage from St. Bertin's steeple.25 miles.

The 7th. The canal of St. Omers is carried up a hill by a series of fluices. To Aire, and Lilliers, and Bethune, towns well known in military ftory.-25 miles. The 8th. The country now a champaign, one changes; from Bethune to Arras an admirable gravel road. At the laft town there is nothing but the great and rich abbey of Var, which they would not fhew me-it was not the right day—or fome frivolous excufe. The cathedral is nothing.-171⁄2 miles.

The 9th. Market-day; coming out of the town I met at least an hundred affes, fome loaded with a bag, others a fack, but all apparently with a trifling burthen, and fwarms of men and women. This is called a market, being plentifully fupplied; but a great proportion of all the labour of a country is idle in the midst of harveft, to fupply a town which in England would be fed by of the people: whenever this fwarm of triflers buz in a market, I take a minute and vicious divifion of the foil for granted. Here my only companion de voyage, the English mare that carries me, difclofes by her eye a fecret not the most agreeable, that she is going rapidly blind. She is moon-eyed; but our fool of a Bury farrier affured me I was fafe for above a twelvemonth. It must be confeffed this is one of thofe agreeable fituations which not many will believe a man would put himself into. Ma foy! this is a piece of my good luck; the journey at beft is but a drudgery, that others are paid for performing on a good horse, and I pay myself for doing it on a blind one;-I shall feel this inconvenience perhaps at the expence of my neck.20 miles.

L 2


The 10th. To Amiens. Mr. Fox flept here last night, and it was amufing to hear the converfation at the table d'hôte; they wondered that fo great a man should not travel in a greater ftyle :-I asked what was his ftyle? Monfieur and Madame were in an English poft-chaife, and the fille and valet de chambre in a cabriolet, with a French courier to have horses ready. What would they have? but a ftyle both of comfort and amufement? A plague on a blind mare!-But I have worked through life; and he TALKS.

The 11th. By Poix to Aumale; enter Normandy.—25 miles.

The 12th. From thence to Newchatel, by far the finest country fince Calais. Pafs villas of Rouen merchants.40 miles. many

The 13th. They are right to have country villas-to get out of this great ugly, ftinking, clofe, and ill built town, which is full of nothing but dirt and industry. What a picture of new buildings does a flourishing manufacturing town in England exhibit! The choir of the cathedral is furrounded by a most magnificent railing of folid brass. They fhew the monument of Rollo, the firft duke of Normandy, and of his fon; of William Longfword; also those of Richard Cœur de Lion; his brother Henry; the Duke of Bedford, regent of France; of their own King Henry V.; of the Cardinal d'Amboife, minister of Louis XII. The altar-piece is an adoration of the fhepherds, by Philip of Champagne. Rouen is dearer than Paris, and therefore it is neceffary for the pockets of the people that their bellies should be wholesomely pinched. At the table d'hôte, at the hotel pomme du pin we fat down, fixteen, to the following dinner, a foup, about 3lb. of bouilli, one fowl, one duck, a small fricaffee of chicken, rote of veal, of about 2lb. and two other fmall plates with a fallad: the price 45. and 20. more for a pint of wine; at an ordinary of 20d. a head in England there would be a piece of meat which would, literally fpeaking, outweigh this whole dinner! The ducks were fwept clean fo quickly, that I moved from table without half a dinner. Such table d'hôtes are among the cheap things of France! Of all fombre and trifte meetings a French table d'hôte is foremost; for eight minutes a dead filence, and as to the politenefs of addrefling a converfation to a foreigner, he will look for it in vain. Not a fingle word has any where been faid to me unless to answer fome queflion: Rouen not fingular in this. The parliament-house here is shut up, and its members exiled a month paft to their country feats, because they would not regifter the edict for a new land-tax. I enquired much into the common fentiments of the people, and found that the King perfonally from having been here, is more popular than the parliament, to whom they attribute the general dearness of every thing. Called on Monf. d'Ambournay, the author of a treatife on ufing madder green inftead of dried, and had the pleasure of a long converfation with him on various farming topics, interefting to my enquiries. The 14th. To Barentin, through abundance of apples and pears, and a country better than the husbandry: to Yveot richer, but miferable management.-21 miles.


The 15th. Country the fame to Bolbec; their inclosures remind me of Ireland, the fence is a high broad parapet bank, very well planted with hedges and oak and beech trees. All the way from Rouen there is a fcattering of country feats, which I am glad to fee; farm-houfes and cottages every where, and the cotton manufacture in all. Continues the fame to Harfleur. To Havre de Grace, the approach ftrongly marks a very flourishing place: the hills are almost covered with little new built villas, and many more are building; fome are so close as to form almost streets, and confiderable additions are also making to the town.-30 miles.

The 16th. Enquiries are not neceffary to find out the profperity of this town; it is nothing equivocal: fuller of motion, life, and activity, than any place I have been at in France. A houfe here, which in 1779 let without any fine on a lease of fix years for 240 liv. per annum, was lately let for three years at 600 liv. which twelve years paft was to be had at 24 liv. The harbour's mouth is narrow and formed by a mole, but it enlarges into two oblong bafons of greater breadth; these are full of fhips, to the number of fome hundreds, and the quays around are thronged with bufinefs, all hurry, buftle, and animation. They fay a fifty gun fhip can enter, but I fuppofe without her guns. What is better, they have merchant-men of five and fix hundred tons: the state of the harbour has however given them much alarm and perplexity; if nothing had been done to improve it, the mouth would have been filled up with fand, an increafing evil; to remedy which, many engineers have been confulted. The want of a back water to wash it out is fo great, that they are now, at the King's expence, forming a moft noble and magnificent work, a vaît bafon, walled off from the ocean, or rather an inclofure of it by folid mafonry, 700 yards long, five yards broad, and 10 or 12 feet above the furface of the fea at high water; and for 400 yards more it confifts of two exterior walls, each three yards broad, and filled up feven yards wide between them with earth; by means of this new and enormous bafon, they will have an artificial back-water, capable, they calculate, of fweeping out the harbour's mouth clean from all obftructions. It is a work that does honour to the kingdom. The view of the Seine from this mole is ftriking; it is five miles broad, with high lands for its oppofite fhore; and the chalk cliffs and promontories, that recede to make way for rolling its vaft tribute to the ocean, bold and noble.

Wait on Monf. l'Abbé Dicquemarre, the celebrated naturalift, where I had alfo the pleasure of meeting Mademoiselle le Maffon le Golft, author of fome agreeable performances; among others, Entretien fur le Havre, 1781, when the number of fouls was estimated at 25,000. The next day Monf. le Reifeicourt, captain of the corps royale du Genie, to whom alfo I had letters, introduced me to Meflis. Hombergs, who rank amongst the moft confiderable mer


« PrécédentContinuer »