Images de page

arfenal, and many belonging to convents, the Carthufians, Celeftins, St. Victor, St. Genevieve, &c.

But that which makes the dwelling in this city very diverting for people of quality, is the facility of going out with their coaches into the fields on every fide; it lying round, and the avenues to it fo well paved; and the places of airing fo clean, open, or fhady, as you pleafe, or the feafon of the year and time of the day require: as the Cour de la Reyne, Bois de Bologne, Bois de Vincennes, les Sables de Vaugerarde, &c.

But to defcend to a more particular review of this great city, I think it not amifs to speak firft of the streets and public places, and what may be seen in them; next of the houfes of note; and what curiofities of nature or art, also of men and libraries, I met with next of their diet and recreations; next of the gardens, and their furnitue and ornaments; and of the air and health. We fhall conclude the whole with the prefent ftate of phyfic and pharmacy here.

To begin with the coaches, which are very numerous here and very fine in gilding: but there are but few, and those only of the great nobility, which are large, and have two feats or funds. But what they want in the largeness, beauty, and neatnefs of ours in London, they have infinitely in the eafinefs of carriage, and the ready turning in the narrowest streets. For this purpose, they are all crane-necked, and the wheels before very low; not above two feet and a half diameter; which makes them easy to get into, and brings down the coach box low, that you have a much better profpect out of the foremost glafs, our high feated coachmen being ever in the point of view. Again, they are moft, even fiacres or hackneys, hung with double fprings at the four corners, which infenfibly breaks all jolts. This I never was fo fenfible of, as after having practifed the Paris coaches for four months, I once rid in the easiest chariot of my lord's, which came from England; but not a jolt but what affected a man: fo as to be tired more in one hour in that, than in fix in thefe.

Besides the great number of coaches of the gentry, here are alfo coaches de Remise, by the month, which are very well gilt, neat harness, and good horfes: and these all ftrangers hire by the day or month, at about three crowns English a day. 'Tis this fort that spoils the hackneys and chairs, which here are the most nafty and miferable voiture that can be; and yet near as dear again as in London, and but very few of them neither.

Yet there is one more in this city, which I was willing to omit, as thinking it at first fight fcandalous, and a very jeft; it being a wretched bufinefs in fo magnificent a city; and that is the Vinegrette, a coach on two wheels, dragged by a man, and pushed be hind by a woman or boy, or both.

Befides thofe, for quick travelling there are great number of poft-chaises for a single perfon: and Roullions for two perfons; these are on two wheels only, and have each their double fprings to make them very eafy; they run very fwiftly; both the horfes pull; but one only is in the thilles. The coach-man mounts the Roullion; but for the chaife, he only mounts the fide horse. I think neither of these are in ufe in England; but might be introduced to good purpofe,

As for their recreations and walks, there are no people more fond of coming together to fee and to be feen. This converfation without doubt takes up a great part of their time and for this purpose, the Cour de la Reyne is frequented by all people of quality. It is a treble walk of trees of a great length, near the river fide, the middle

[ocr errors]

walk having above double the breadth to the two fide ones; and will hold eight files of coaches, and in the middle a great open circle to turn, with fine gates at both ends. Thofe that would have better and freer air, go further, and drive into the Bois de Bologne, others out of other parts of the town to Bois de Vincennes, fcarce any fide amifs. In like manner thefe perfons light and walk in the Tuilleries, Luxembourg, and other gardens, belonging to the crown and princes, (all which are very spacious) and are made convenient, with many feats for the entertainment of all people; the lacquies and mob excepted. But of this more hereafter.

No fort of people make a better figure in the town than the bishops, who have very fplendid equipages, and variety of fine liveries, being moft of them men of great familics, and preferred as fuch, learning not being fo neceffary a qualification for thofe dignities as with us; though there are fome of them very deferving and learned men. I fay, they are most noblemen, or the younger fons of the beft families. This indeed is for the honour of the church; but whether it be for the good of learning and piety is doubtful. They may be patrons, but there are but few examples of erudition among them. 'Tis to be wifhed that they exceeded others in merit, as they do in


The abbots here are numerous from all parts of the kingdom. They make a confiderable figure, as being a gentile fort of clergy, and the most learned; at leaft were fo from the time of cardinal Richelieu, who preferred men of the greatest learning and parts to thefe pofts; and that very frankly, and without their knowing it before-hand, inuch lefs foliciting him for it. He took a fure way, peculiar to himfelf, to enquire out privately men of defert, and took his own time to prefer them. This filled the kingdom of France with learned men, and gave great encouragement to study; whereof France has yet fome feeling.

'Tis pretty to obferve, how the king difciplines this great city, by finall inftances of obedience. He caufed them to take down all their figns at once, and not to advance them above a foot or two from the wall, nor to exceed fuch a fmall measure of fquare; which was readily done: fo that the figns obfcure not the streets at all, and make little or no figure, as though there were none; being placed very high and little.

There are great number of hoftels in Paris, by which word is meant public inns, where lodgings are let; and also the noblemen and gentlemen's houses are fo called, moftly with titles over the gate in letters of gold on a black marble. This seems as it were, to denote that they came at first to Paris as ftrangers only, and inned publicly; but at length built them inns or houfes of their own. It is certain, a great and wealthy city cannot be without people of quality; nor fuch a court as that of France without the daily inspection of what fuch people do. But whether the country can fpare them or not, I queftion. The people of England feem to have less manners and lefs religion, where the gentry have left them wholly to themselves; and the taxes are raised with more difficulty, inequality, and injuftice, than when the landlords live upon the def


It may very well be, that Paris is in a manner a new city within this forty years. It is certain fince this king came to the crown, it is fo much altered for the better, that it is quite another thing; and if it be true what the workmen told me, that a common house, built of rough ftone and plaistered over, would not laft above twentyfive years, the greatest part of the city has been lately rebuilt. In this age certainly most of the great hoftels are built, or re-edified; in like manner the convents, the bridges

and churches, the gates of the city; add the great alteration of the streets, the keys upon the river, the pavements; all these have had great additions, or are quite


In the river amongst the bridges, both above and below, are a vast number of boats, of wood, hay, charcoal, corn, and wine, and other commodities. But when a fudden thaw comes, they are often in danger of being split and crufhed to pieces upon the bridges; which also are fometimes damaged by them. There have been great loffes to the owners of fuch boats and goods.

It has been propofed to dig near the city a large bafin for a winter harbour; but this has not had the face of profit to the government; fo they are ftill left to execute their own project. There are no laws or projects fo effectual here, as what bring profit to the government. Farming is admirably well understood


Amongst the living objects to be feen in the streets of Paris, the counsellors and chief officers of the courts of juftice make a great figure; they and their wives have their trains carried up; fo there are abundance to be feen walking about the streets in this manner. It is for this that places of that nature fell fo well. A man that has a right to qualify a wife with this honour, fhall command a fortune; and the carrying a great velvet cushion to church is such another bufinefs. The place of a lawyer is valued a third part dearer for this.

Here are alfo daily to be feen in the streets great variety of monks, in strange unusual habits to us Englishmen; thefe make an odd figure, and furnish well a picture. I cannot but pity the mistaken zeal of these poor men; that put themfelves into religion, as they call it, and renounce the world, and submit themselves to most severe rules of living and diet; fome of the orders are decently enough cloathed, as the Jefuits, the fathers of the oratory, &c. but most are very particular and obfolete in their drefs, as being the rustic habit of old times, without linen, or ornaments of the prefent


As to their meagre diet, it is much against nature, and the improved diet of mankind. The Mofaic law provided much better for Jews, a chofen people; that was instituted for cleanliness and health. Now for the Chriftian law, though it commands humility and patience under fufferings, and mortification and abftinence from finful lufts and pleasures; yet by no means a distinct food, but liberty to eat any thing whatfoever, much less naftiness; and the papifts themselves in other things are of this mind; for their churches are clean, pompoufly adorned and perfumed. It is enough, if we chance to fuffer perfecution, to endure it with patience, and all the miferable circumftances that attend it; but wantonly to perfecute ourfelves, is to do violence to Chriftianity, and to put ourfelves in a worfe ftate than the Jews were; for to choose the worst of food, which is four herbs and fifh, and fuch like trash, and to lie worse, always rough, in course and nafty woollen frocks upon boards; to go barefoot in a cold country, to deny themfélves the comforts of this life, and the conversation of men; this, I fay, is to hazard our healths, to renounce the greatest bleffings of this life, and in a manner to destroy ourselves. Thefe men, I fay, cannot but be in the main. chagrin, and therefore as they are out of humour with the world, fo they mult in time be weary of fuch flavish and fruitless devotion, which is not attended with an active life.

The great multitude of poor wretches in all parts of this city is fuch, that a man in a coach, a foot, in the fhop, is not able to do any bufinefs for the numbers and importunities of beggars; and to hear their miferies is very lamentable; and if you

give to one, you immediately bring a whole fwarm upon you. Thefe, I say, are true monks, if you will, of God Almighty's making, offering you their prayers for a farthing, that find the evil of the day fufficient for the day, and that the miferies of this life are not to be courted, or made a mock of. Thefe worship, much against their will, all rich men, and make faints of the rest of mankind for a morfe of bread.

But let thefe men alone with their mistaken zeal; it is certainly God's good providence which orders all things in this world. And the flesh-eaters will ever defend themfelves, if not beat the Lenten men; good and wholefome food, and plenty of it, gives men naturally great courage. Again, a nation will fooner be peopled by the free marriage of all forts of people, than by the additional stealth of a few starved monks, fuppofing them at any time to break their vow. This limiting of marriage to a certain people only is a deduction and an abatement of mankind, not lefs in a papift country than a constant war. Again, this leffens alfo the number of God's worshippers, instead of multiplying them as the stars in the firmament, or the fand upon the fea fhore; thefe men wilfully cut off their pofterity, and reduce God's congregation for the future.

There is very little noife in this city of public cries of things to be fold, or any difturbance from pamphlets and hawkers: One thing I wondered at, that I heard of nothing loft, nor any public advertisement, till I was fhewed printed papers upon the corners of streets, wherein were in great letters, Un, Deux, Cinq, Dix jufq; a Cinquante Louis à a gagner, that is, from one to fifty louis to be got; and then underneath an account of what was loft. This fure is a good and quiet way; for by this means without noise you often find your goods again; every body that has found them repairing in a day or two to fuch places. The Gazettes come out but once a week, and but few people buy them.

It is difficult and dangerous to vend a libel here. While we were in town, a certain perfon gave a bundle of them to a blind man, a beggar of the hospital of the Quinzevint, telling him he might get five pence for every penny; he went to Noftredame, and cried them up in the fervice time; La vie & Miracles de l'Evefq; de Rheims. This was a trick that was played the archbishop, as it was thought, by the Jefuits, with whom he has had a great contest about Molinas, the Spanish J. doctrines. The libel went off at any rate, when the first buyers had read the title further, and found they were against the prefent archbishop, duke, and first peer of France.

The streets are lighted alike all the winter long, as well when the moon fhines, as at other times of the month; which I remember the rather, because of the impertinent ufage of our people at London, to take away the lights for half of the month, as though the moon was certain to fhine and light the ftreets, and that there could be no cloudy weather in winter. The lanthorns here hang down in the very middle of all the streets, about twenty paces diftance, and twenty foot high. They are made of a fquare of glafs about two foot deep, covered with a broad plate of iron; and the rope that lets them down, is fecured and locked up in an iron funnel and little trunk fastened into the wall of the house. These lanthorns have candles of four in the pound in them, which laft burning till after midnight.

As to thefe lights, if any man break them, he is forthwith fent to the gallies; and there were three young gentlemen of good families, who were in prifon for having done it in a frolic, and could not be releafed thence in fome months, and that not without the diligent application of good friends at court.


The lights at Paris for five months in the year only, coft near 50,000!. fterling. This way of lighting the streets is in ufe alfo in fome other cities in France. The king is faid to have raised a large tax by it. In the preface to the tax it is faid, "that confidering the great danger his fubjects were in, in walking the streets in the dark, from thieves, and the breaking their necks by falls, he for fuch a fum of money did grant this privilege, that they might hang out lanthorns in this manner."

.1 have faid, that the avenues to the city, and all the ftreets, are paved with a very hard fand ftone, about eight inches fquare; fo they have a great care to keep them clean; in winter, for example, upon the melting of the ice, by a heavy drag with a horfe, which makes a quick riddance and cleaning the gutters; fo that in a day's time all parts of the town are to admiration clean and neat again to walk on.

I could heartily wish their fummer cleanliness was as great; it is certainly as neceffary to keep fo populous a city fweet; but I know no machine fufficient, but what would empty it of the people too; all the threats and infcriptions upon walls are to little purpose. The duft in London in fummer is oftentimes, if a wind blow, very troublefome, if not intolerable; in Paris there is much less of it, and the reason is, the flat ftones require little fand to fet them faft, whereas our small pebbles, not coming toge ther, require a vast quantity to lay them faft in paving.

But from the people in the streets, to the dead ornaments there. There are an infinite number of bufto's of the grand monarch every where put up by the common people; but the noble statues are but few, confidering the obfequious humour and capacity of the people to perform.

That in the Place-Victoire is a foot in brass, all over gilt, with Victoire, that is a vaft winged woman close behind his back, holding forth a laurel crown over the king's head, with one foot upon a globe. There are great exceptions taken at the gilding by artists; and indeed the fhining feems to spoil the features, and give I know not what confufion; it had better have been all of gold braffed over; which would have given its true lights and fhadows, and fuffered the eye to judge of the proportions. But that which I like not in this, is the great woman perpetually at the kings back; which is a fort of embarras, and instead of giving victory, feems to tire him with her company. The Roman victory was a little puppit in the emperor's hand, which he could difpofe of at pleasure. This woman is enough to give a man a surfeit.

The other are statues of three of the laft kings of France, in brass a horseback.

That on the Pont-neuf is of Henry the fourth in his armour bare-headed, and habited as the mode of that time was.

The other of Lewis the thirteenth in the Palace-Royal, armed also after the mode of the age, and his plume of feathers on his head-piece.

The third is of this prefent King Louis the fourteenth, and defigned for the Place Vendofme. This Coloffus of brafs is yet in the very place, where it was caft; it is furprisingly great, being 22 feet high, the feet of the king 26 inches in length, and all the. proportions of him and the horse fuitable. There was 100,000 pound weight of metal melted, but it took not up above 80,000 pounds; it was all caft at once, horse and man. Monfieur Girardon told me, he wrought diligently, and with almoft daily application at the model eight years, and there were two years more spent in the moulding, and furnaces, and cafting of it. The king is in the habit of a Roman emperor, without flirrups or faddle, and on his head a French large periwig a-la-mode. Whence this great liberty of sculpture arifes, I am much to feek.

It is true, that in building precifely to follow the ancient manner and fimplicity is very commendable, because all thofe orders were founded upon good principles in mathema




« PrécédentContinuer »