THE Habitable World DESCRIBED.

Inscribed by Permission to His Royal Highness Frederick DUKE OF YORK, &c. &c.


LONDON: Published as the Act directs, by the Author. No. 62. Wardour Street, Soho.


THE HABITABLE WORLD DESCRIBED, OR THE PRESENT STATE OF THE PEOPLE IN ALL PARTS OF THE GLOBE, FROM NORTH TO SOUTH; SHEWING The Situation, Extent, Climate, Production, Animals, &c. &c. of the different Kingdoms and States.

Including all the new Discoveries: TOGETHER WITH The Genius, Manners, Customs, Trade, Religion, Forms of Government, &c. of the Inhabitants, and every thing respecting them, that can be either entertaining or informing to the Reader, collected from the earliest and latest Accounts of Historians and Travellers of all Nations; With some that have never been published in this Kingdom; And nothing advanced but on the best Authorities.

WITH A great Variety of MAPS and COPPER-PLATES, engraved in a capital Style, the Subjects of which are mostly new, and such as have never yet been given in any English work.



LONDON: Printed for the AUTHOR, and sold by J. PARSONS, Paternoster-Row, and all Booksellers.




CHAP. II. Character, Customs, Manners, &c.

THE Savoyards, says Busching, from the nature of their country, are generally so poor, that a traveller seldom meets any upon the public road, who do not recommend themselves to his benevolence; and a farmer, with a yoke of oxen, a couple of horses, four cows, a few goats and sheep, and a small piece of ground, passes for a man of substance. The bread is generally of rye; with a mixture of wheat and barley, among the better sort. Their drink is milk and wa­ter; their food chiefly consists of cheese, butter, wall­nuts, vegetables, and what flesh they can spare, of their own breeding; but the generality are rather under the necessity of disposing, of part of their stock, to purchase the other necessaries of life. With this way of living the people are chearful, feed heartily, have a much better complexion than the Piedmontese, [Page 4] live to a great age; and being, at the same time, so prolific, that the inhabitants, if at home, could not subsist upon the products of the country, they may well be excused in sending their children to seek a livelihood, by shewing monkies, sweeping chimnies, blacking shoes, or as they can. The number of such Savoyards, at Paris, is computed to be above 18,000; of whom the boys are shoe-blacks. In the winter time they live very comfortably, forty or fifty in a room; and, in summer time, the stones at the threshold of the houses serve them for pillows. They are so honest, that they may be trusted to change gold. If once they attain to the setting up of a little shop, they are such masters of the thriving talent, that it is often the foundation of a very considerable fortune. The rich banker and financier, Croizat, whose daughter was married to the count D'Evereux, of a noble fa­mily in France, was formerly of this fraternity; yet, so prevalent is the love of their country in them, that when masters, of any little stock, they generally re­turn home. Every year an old fellow goes up and down the village, and gets together the boys, to con­duct them out of the country, in some measure, like the rat-catcher at Hamel. It is not uncommon that some of the children, committed to him, are so small as to be caried away in baskets. He is also of further service, returning with letters, needles, and such trifles; and sometimes money, from his countrymen [Page 5] at Paris, Lyons, &c. to their parents, relations, and friends. This encourages the people at home to trust him with fresh colonies; from whose emigration he also reaps some little advantage; at least, while he is on his circuit in Savoy, he is every where welcome to bed and board.

The nobility, both in Savoy and Piedmont, labour under great oppression; indeed the king's ordinances are, in some respect, advantageous to them, by having established, in all fiefs, the perpetual right of primo­geniture. In allodial estates, no nobleman can make a feoffment of trust beyond the fourth degree; but a commoner is divested of all such power. He who takes possession of the estate, by the right of primoge­niture, is obliged to give the younger children one fourth of the income. Whoever purchases an estate, with the title of Marquisate, Baron, &c. is thereby en­nobled; and such estates are to be had for six or eight thousand livres. Every nobleman must prove from whence he derives his arms, else he is deprived of this right; or must be at the charge of purchasing a new coat of arms. The title is inherent to the estate. Of all mines, discovered and worked, a certain share belongs to the king. No person is to fell trees, not even in his own wood, without leave obtained from the intendant. No money is to be placed at in­terest, nor lent on mortgages, out of the country. [Page 6] No pension, or order of knighthood, except that of Malta, is to be accepted from any foreign prince. There is also a prohibition against travelling abroad, or entering into any foreign service, without a written licence from the king. None are to be seen with fire­arms out of their fief; and a person not possessed of a fief, though an officer in the army, is not to keep any. Not to mention many other restrictions, the king has declared all fiefs to be his property; and whoever should undertake to maintain the contrary, must make proof of it in the patent of investiture.

The high court of justice, or the parliament, as we have already premised, sits at Chambery. The king being, on account of Savoy, a member of the ancient kingdom of Arles; and a vassal of the empire has a seat, and vote, in the diet of the Germanic body.

In Savoy every one speaks French; and most of the names of towns and villages are of that language; but, in customs and dispositions, the inhabitants have more of the German in them. It is with pleasure we see in them, what is called, the old Germanic honesty. They are, one and all, Roman Catholics; but, with­out admitting the council of Trent. Their churches are no asylums. Montiers, in Tarentaise, is an Arch­bishopric; and Annecy, ond Jean de Maurienne are Bishoprics.


PIEDMONT is a part of the ancient Lombardy; and, northward, borders on Savoy and Italy; westward on France; Southward on the Mediterra­nean, and republic of Genoa; and eastward on the duchies of Montserat, and Milan. From South to North, it is about one hundred and fifty English miles; but much less from West to East. It is called Pied­mont, in Latin Pedemontium, from its situation ad pede montium, or at the foot of the mountains, or Alps, which separate France from Italy.

Some parts of it are very mountainous; but it is every where, and even among the hills, very unfruit­ful, That part of the country, which is level, is well watered by rivers and brooks. They have the good [Page 8] sense to make the best use of these, for the improve­ment of their meadows. From the Alps to the Ve­netian lagunes there is very little uncultivated land. A ridge of low hills, called La Collina, beginning not far from Turin, and continuing along the banks of the Po, for forty miles, is covered with houses and vine­yards; and enjoys delightful and extensive prospects. The Val d' Aosta is interesting to a naturalist; for its copious quartz veins, with plenty of native gold; fine-grained lead ore, containing silver, &c. red anti­mony; green lead ore, &c. The hills produce plenty of wine; which, like all other Italian wines, is very luscious, whilst new, especially the white. Here is also a tartish red wine, called vino brisco; and said to be very wholesome for fat people; the sweet wine, or vino amabile, is, on the other hand, recommended as a stomachic. The neighbourhood of Turin is famous for its fine fruits, and many long walks of chesnut and mulberry trees, productive both of pleasure and profit. Marons, or large chesnuts, are a favourite dainty, among the commonalty, which are thrown into an oven, and, when thoroughly hot, and cooled in red wine, are dried a second time in the oven. These are called biscuits, and eaten cold. Truffles grow here in such abundance, as to gain Piedmont the ap­pellation of the truffle country. Some are black, others white, and marbled with red; the larger they are, the dearer; sometimes they are found of twelve [Page 9] or fourteen pounds weight; and many country people earn, from sixty to seventy dollars a year, by digging only for truffles. The finest part of the king's country is that from Turin to Coni; which indeed has few to equal it. The fertility of Piedmont occasioned the old saying, si l'Italie etoit un mouton, le Piedmont en seroit le rognon; that is, if Italy were a sheep, Pied­mont would be the kidney. The whole country, says Sharpe, is extremely fertile; and to such a degree, that it may be truly said there is not an acre of barren ground, throughout all the tract of Lombardy which we passed. The earth produces three crops at once; wine, silk and cotton. The mulberry-trees support the vines; and the corn grows in the intervals between the trees. This is certainly an instance of extraor­dinary plenty; but, probably, either of these products would be more perfect in their kind, if the soil were appropriated to one or two of these only.

The chief river is the Po; which flows out of mount Viso, and bathes the walls of the capital, uniting it­self there with the Doria. The Var, anciently called Varus, rises in the county of Nice; and, after water­ing it, empties itself into the Mediterranean.

There are mountains, near Turin, adds Lady Millar, abounding with petrefactions, crystalizations, and other natural curiosities. Mushrooms, very large, [Page 10] petrified, whose combs were not in the least injured, are found in them; likewise sea-shells, sea-fossils, &c. in great abundance, although they are full thirty leagues from the sea. At about eight leagues from Turin, in the river Doria, the peasants find very pure gold amongst the sands; which, when refined, is equal, in beauty and value, to that of sequins; but they do not find enough in a day, to make it worth their while to apply themselves entirely to this re­search. However, I recollect, says Lady Millar, that we were met by a drove of mules, loaded with small casks, which they said was the mineralé, containing the gold, and was, probably, sand, impregnated with the ore.

CHAP. IV. Cities, Court, Palaces.

TURINO, or Turin, anciently Augusta Tauri­norum, is the capital of Piedmont; and the resi­dence of the king of Sardinia. It is situated in a fine plain, watered by the Po, and at the confluence of this

PLAN of the CITY of TURIN.
  • A. The Palace
  • B. Old Palace
  • C. St. Charles Place
  • D. Carline Place
  • E. The Citadel
  • 1. Penitens St. Cross
  • 2. St. Johns Church
  • 3. St. Augustin
  • 4. St. Olaire
  • 5. St. Peter
  • 6. St. Delmas
  • 7. The Jesuits
  • 8. Town House
  • 9. Town Tower
  • 10. St. Roch
  • 11. St. Martin
  • 12. St. T'seve
  • 13. The Carmelites
  • 14. The Capuchin
  • 15. The Father of the Mission
  • 16. The Arsenal
  • 17. Monastery of Visitation
  • 18. Conventicle
  • 19. St. Charles
  • 20. Carmelites Convent
  • 21. Monastery of Annunciation
  • 22. Monastery of Glangrol
  • 23. Quarter of the Jews
  • 24. The Father of St. Philip
  • 25. St. Francis of Paul
  • 26. The Father of St. Anthony
  • 27. The Father of St. Suaire
  • 28. The Theatines
  • 29. The Academy
  • 30. Jusinne Gate

[Page 11] river with the Doria. The approach to the city is magnificent, and the environs are beautiful; the neighbouring hills and eminences being covered with villas, convents, and other buildings. The four gates are highly ornamented. It is divided into the new town and old. The streets in the new town are wide, straight, and clean, having plenty of water running through them; they are well built, in a good taste, chiefly of brick stuccoed; and generally terminating in some agreeable object. No inhabitant can rebuild, or repair his house, but on a uniform plan, laid down by government for the improvement of the city. The Strada di Po, leading to the palace, is very spacious, and has handsome porticos on each side; Strada nuovo & della Dora grossa are also good streets. The prin­cipal square, called di San Carlo, is large, and deco­rated, on two sides, with porticos. It is pretty exten­sive; the circuit of the ramparts being about four miles and a half. The number of inhabitants are com­puted at 80,000. In the city are forty-eight churches and convents, and seventeen more may be seen from the ramparts. The most splendid structure is the front of the palace, where the king resides. It is built of free-stone, and superbly decorated with pillars and marble statues, and a magnificent staircase; where stands a brass statue of Victor Amadoeus, on a horse of white marble. The rest of the palace is old, and of brick, like the other palace. The royal library is [Page 12] worth notice. In the court chapel is seen the princi­pal relic, belonging either to the city, or the whole country; and that is the sudario, or linen cloth, in which the body of our Saviour was said to have been wrapped in the sepulchre. It is kept in a chest, within a closet of glass doors.

This chapel, that it may be adapted to the tragical relic preserved there, is built entirely of a dark grey marble. The model was drawn by Guarini, and is said to have cost four millions and a half of Piedmon­tese livres. The sheet, (as the clergy here pretend) wherein Christ was wrapped after his crucifixion, has, on both sides of it, imprinted the bloody figure of a man. The supposed Sudary of Christ is also shewn at Mentz, Lisbon, and in about twelve other Romish churches. To this objection the common answer is, that many pieces of linen were used for wrapping round a corpse; but this evasion holds good only as to the smaller bandages, used for the arms, feet, and head; and not with respect to those large involucra, on which the whole human figure is represented. As to the great veneration at present paid to it, let it suffice to say that Philip the Vth. of Spain, even when he mar­ried the Princess of Savoy, could not obtain a copy of that at Turin, till after repeated solicitations, and then with the greatest difficulty. The performance was also attended with a great number of superstitious ce­remonies. [Page 13] The painter, whilst at work, was obliged to be continually on his knees, and eight bishops said masses, at eight different altars.

The most honourable distinction, at the court of Turin, is the order of the Annonciada; and next to that are the four following posts, called the four maitre­chargen; the great chamberlain, the steward of the houshold, the master of the horse, and the great hunts­man. These four officers precede all others, and take place according to seniority.

The order of the Annonciada was instituted in the year 1362. The knights wear a collar, about three fingers broad, of white and red roses, of enamelled gold. These letters F. E. R. T. are intermixt with love-knots; which has given surmise, to some French writers, that this order was instituted only in honour of a favourite female. In like manner the order of the golden fleece has been aspersed, as having but a mean origin. The meaning of the four letters is still a mystery; some interpret them, Fortitudo Ejus Rho­dium Tenuit, "his courage preserved Rhodes," from a conjecture they were inserted in the Savoy arms, by one of their dukes, on his relieving that island. Others have imagined these letters were part of the Savoy arms, long before that time. How the vowels A. E. I. O. U. adopted by Frederic the Third, for the house [Page 14] of Austria have puzzled the learned, is sufficiently known; and no less have they been perplexed about the old device of the Margrave of Saluzzo, viz. the letters N. O. C. H. which some one at last jocularly interpreted thus, Non Omnes Capiunt Hoc, i, e. all men do not understand this.

Every knight of the Annonciada must previously have been of the order of St. Maurice, instituted in 1434. The knights of St. Maurice must marry but once; and then it must not be to a widow. The king is grand master of the order of the Annonciada; the king's son, and the first prince of the blood, are knights by birth; and the number of the others is not to exceed fifteen.

Contiguous to the royal palace are several other spacious buildings; among others the opera-house is accounted a master piece of its kind; the record-office, with the new royal printing-house, with twelve presses, and the arsenal, which is quite new, and a well con­trived structure. This building, besides the armories usually found in such places, contains a cabinet of mi­nerals, a good chemical laboratory, a library of books, in mineralogy and metallurgy, and furnaces for cast­ing cannon; here also are mathematical, mechanical, and other masters, for the instruction of engineers, miners, &c.

[Page 15]The fortifications of Turin are regular, and kept in excellent repair. The citadel is a regular pentagon, consisting of strong bastions; and is reputed one of the strongest in Europe. The glacis is planted with trees, forming three avenues; that in the middle very wide for carriages, and one on each side for walking; they extend to the Suza gate, between the fossé and the city.

The university, which was founded in 1405, and re-established on a better footing by Victor Amadoeus II. is a large quadrangle, and one of the first buildings in the city. In the inner court is a double row of piazzas, over each other; and along them several an­cient monuments, placed on the walls. The university library, besides twenty thousand printed volumes, has a very valuable collection of ancient manuscripts, hi­therto unknown, and of great use, both in civil and ecclesiastical history. Pyrrhus Ligorius's collection of designs of Greek and Roman antiquities, in thirty volumes, for which 8,000 ducats were given, is an in­valuable ornament to this collection. The Jesuits have a college and a church, adorned with most cu­rious fresco painting, and marble sculpture. There are five hospitals for the sick, maimed, and poor; that of St. John, the largest and finest, is, in reality, a magnificent structure. The Charité, or poor-house, is a most noble foundation. The receptacle for luna­tics [Page 16] is likewise worthy of observation. The streets are kept clean by a rivulet, brought from the river Doria into the city. It also carries off all the soil and filth from the kennels, and is very serviceable in case of fire. The sluices are laid open every night.

This charming town, says Mrs. Piozzi, is the salon of Italy; but it is a fine proportioned, and well orna­mented salon, happily constructed to call in fresh air, at the end of every street. The arches formed to de­fend passengers from the rain and sun, which here might have even serious effects, from their violence, deserve much praise; while their architecture, uniting our ideas of beauty and comfort, form a traveller's taste; and teach him to admire that perfection, of which a miniature may certainly be found at Turin.

The king's palace is in a simple, and noble stile of architecture. The apartments are elegantly fitted up, and furnished; no expence has been spared; a pro­fusion of glasses, gilding, rich silks and velvets over the walls. The floors are beautifully inlaid with woods of different shades; and kept, as are the whole of the apartments and furniture, delicately clean. The frames of the looking glasses, and of the sconces, are all wrought plate, as well as the arms that hold the candles, and the shapes of the pier-glasses; large mas­sive tables of silver stand under each glass, all wrought [Page 17] in bas reliefs; and the workmanship, for the most part, finely executed. The lustres that hang from the ciel­ing are of rock crystal. The curtains to the doors have a fine effect; for when all the doors, which lead through the magnificent suit of rooms, are thrown open, these curtains are tied back, and their folds form beautiful arcades. The doors open in the middle, and, folding inward, are received into grooves made in the thickness of the wall; the pannels are carved and gilt; and, when the apartment is displayed, no door is to be seen; but in passing through the door-case, the ornaments of the doors, which cover the sides of the wall, are very striking. These doors, all an­swering each other, form a perspective which has a most beautiful effect. As the suite of rooms form a rectangle, there is a view, from the same point, of two extensive vistas; which, being terminated by looking-glasses, seems to have no end. Silk is the furniture of the summer; that of the winter apartment is of crim­son velvet. As the walls are extremely thick, the windows have a noble air from the inside; the wall sloping off from them, and the tops arched in cove­fashion, are incrusted with looking-glasses set in gilt foliage; which, by their reflections, produce a brilliant effect. Sculpture and gilding abound in every room; all the mouldings, architraves, and every (the smallest) part of wainscoting, is highly ornamented. But what is wonderfully shocking, in the midst of all this profu­sion [Page 18] of finery, is, that the panes of the windows are set in lead, in the same manner with the casements of our English cottages. The palace contains fifty-three chambers; of which forty-eight are completely fur­nished. The cielings are painted by Daniele di Sanc­terre and others. In the gallery is a collection of pictures, among which are many good ones, chiefly by Flemish masters; they are all hung upon black pannels; great part of these were purchased from Prince Eu­gene's cabinet, by the late King. The dropsical wo­man, with her physician, is, by connoisseurs, valued at £. 10,000; it is finished with the most exquisite Dutch nicety, by Gerard Dowe. This picture, says Grosley, is reckoned his master-piece, both for design and colouring. It appears on the side like a cupboard; and is shut in by two doors, on which are painted, by Gerard Dowe, a ewer and a napkin. When these doors are opened, the picture appears with more eclat, from having been concealed. It represents the inside of a room; the clair obscure has a beautiful effect; the room is lighted by an ox-eye over the window, and by the light proceeding from the fire in a chimney; which is admirably thrown on the furniture and other ob­jects. The principal figure appears to be a physician, who is standing on the fore-ground, and holds up a phial to the light, which he looks at very attentively; he is dressed in a prodigious fine lilac-coloured sattin night-gown; the dropsical woman is very fine also, in [Page 19] white sattin; her daughter's dress is not neglected; she is on her knees near her mother, and holds one of her hands in hers. There is great tenderness ex­pressed in the countenance of the daughter, and her attitude is easy and natural; the mother appears to be in the last stage of illness. A waiting-maid, who is ad­ministering a potion to the sick lady, has a stupid in­difference in her manners, that forms a good contrast to the filial piety, and tender attention of the daughter. This picture may be said to be too highly finished; the sattin, lace, embroidery, are done too well; which causes a hardness of outline, in many places, by an extraordinary attention to the finishing of several pieces of furniture in the room.

In a cabinet, highly ornamented with glass, and beautiful gilt foliage, are a vast number of miniatures; all portraits. These pictures are dispersed in such a manner, among the glass and foliage, as to have a sin­gular and very pretty effect. They are incomparably well executed on ivory; none hatched, all dotted, and bear the test of the highest magnifying glass. They are painted by one man, named Carameli, a monk; his own picture among them. Instead of using a ca­mel's-hair pencil, which is universal in miniature paint­ing, this man dotted all his pictures, with the feathers plucked from woodcocks' wings; and, instead of finish­ing as he went on, he began them nearly at the same [Page 20] time, and worked at each, every day, till they were all completed. It seems no hair-pencils can be brought to the point that these pencils have naturally. Carmeli took thirty years to finish them, and had never learnt.

Amongst many remarkable portraits, that of Sir Thomas More is much admired. There are also two original portraits; one of Petrarch, the other of his beloved Laura, by Brongino, a famous painter of that day. Her sort of beauty, says Lady Millar, would never have captivated me, had I been Petrarch. Her hair is red, her eyebrows extremely narrow and exact, forming a flat arch; her eyes small, her nose a little hooked, and rising too high in the middle; her mouth not very small, and lips like two scarlet threads; a very faint colour in her cheeks, the contour in the face more square than oval; her countenance more de­mure than engaging. As for Petrarch, he is exceed­ingly ugly indeed; but he has a very sensible black and yellow face. It is remarkable that, in this collection of pictures, there is no Raphael, except some defaced sketches; but one Titian, and not one of Salvator Rosa, nor Corregio.

The statues and busts are part of the wreck of the Gonzagua collection; brought from Mantua, on the pillage of that city. The celebrated Isiac table is in the chamber of the archives; this is one of the most [Page 21] celebrated antiques in all Italy. This slab, or table, is of copper; it is covered all over with hieroglyphics. The principal figure is an Isis, sitting; she has a kind of hawk on her head, and the horns of a bull. Many and various are the conjectures, formed by the learned, in regard to the meaning of the figures upon the table. Some have imagined they could prove it to be a com­pass; others, a perpetual calendar; and, not a few, have pretended to find principles of philosophy and and politics in it; while some, still more ingenious, have pretended that it contains a complete body of theology. I am not impertinent enough to pretend I discovered any thing more than a strange chaos of men, women, ugly birds, and other animals, frightfully delineated, by strait lines, sometimes springing all from a point, like rays, then suddenly turning into angular figures, formed by silver, incrusted into copper. It is evident much silver has been taken out of this table, as the grooves remain. Notwithstanding the seeming confusion of the representations, the silver lines are very neat, and extremely well inserted into the copper.

The archives are arranged with such method, that, although they are extremely voluminous, the King can, at a moment, turn to the population, extent, and pro­ductions, of the smallest subdivision of his hereditary dominions; or of those acquired by him, at the con­clusion of the war in 1744, commonly called Le païs [Page 22] conquis; their present and past revenue, at, or for any given period, within the two last centuries, by the day, week, or year; their capability of bearing a further increase of taxes, in cases of necessity; their value and casual increase, or decrease, in different branches of manufactures, as well as the number of militia, and of recruits, which each can furnish upon any emergency.

The King's theatre adjoins to the royal palace, and is reckoned one of the finest in Europe. It is strik­ingly magnificent. The form is that of an egg cut across. There are six rows of boxes; narrow indeed in front, but very convenient within; and holds eight persons with ease. The Italians play at cards, receive visits, and take all sorts of refreshment in their boxes; they resemble little rooms, rather than boxes at a the­atre. There are no benches; but, what is more con­venient, chairs, which are moved about at pleasure. The king's box is in the second row, fronting the stage; it is thirty feet wide, Paris measure; and the back part, covered with looking-glass, reflects the stage in such a manner, that those who happen to have their backs turned to the actors, either conversing or at play, may see the performance in the glasses. These glasses form a partition, which can be moved when­ever they chuse to enlarge the box; there being room behind. The very great breadth of the stage pro­duces [Page 23] a most noble effect. The Proscenium measures forty-five Paris feet, the depth of the stage one hun­dred and five; beyond which they can add a paved court of twenty-four feet. A gentle rising is contrived at the sides; by which may be introduced triumphal cars, for great processions, horses, &c. They can also throw a draw-bridge across, when the scene re­quires it; and they have a contrivance for letting in water, so as to present a jet d'eau of thirty feet high. Sixty horses at a time have been brought upon the stage, and manoeuvred, with ease, in representations of battles; the orchestra is so curiously constructed, as by having a place left underneath, which is concave and semicircular, to augment the sound of the instruments very considerably. The machinery and decorations are magnificent. The King is at the principal ex­pence of the opera; they who have boxes paying only two or three guineas for the season, as a kind of fee; money being only taken at the door for sitting in the pit.

The finest buildings in this city, says Keysler, are Count Paesanes' hotel, which cost fifty thousand pounds; and the Carignan palace, built by Guarini. This architect also designed the new building, and alterations, at La Veniere; besides many others. These expensive improvements are not a little pro­moted by an ordinance, which empowers every one, [Page 24] intending to re-build, or enlarge his house, to oblige his next neighbour, whose house is of less value than it is proposed the new one shall be, to dispose of the whole, or part of the ground plot to him, at a reason­able rate. That part of the palace of the Prince of Piedmont, which is modern, is fronted in the most or­namental manner, by Philip Juvara; and is in the best stile of architecture of any building in Turin. The staircase is admired here to such a degree, that they assert it to be the first in the world; it is double, and unites at top; at which is the entrance into the grand saloon. The apartments are well furnished, and would appear much more grand and considerable, were it not for the staircase; the noble appearance of which indicates a more magnificent and extensive suit of rooms.

As to the ecclesiastical buildings in this city, says Keysler, they are much inferior to the others, for they are very ancient; whereas the finest edifices at Turin were built in the two last reigns. The city of Asti, in the road to Genoa, exceeded Turin formerly, and the churches there are in the Gothic taste.

Among the laudable foundations at Turin, the hos­pital de la Charité merits being noticed; this building takes up great part of the Rue de Po; and has very large revenues arising from rents, and the annual [Page 25] subscriptions of the citizens. The king every year gives to this hospital three hundred sacks of corn; three of which are computed to make a sufficient quan­tity of bread to serve one person a whole year. In this house are generally two thousand, and often three thousand, poor people, picked out of the streets, and employed in several sorts of manufactures. Here the young and old, of both sexes, are furnished with a re­medy against idleness; and are provided with meat, drink, and cloathing; and attendance, when sick, or grown decrepid with age. Forty soldiers in blue, with red bandeliers, are daily dispersed about the streets, to take up all beggars and vagrants; if they be fo­reigners, after undergoing a short imprisonment, they are driven out of the city; and, for a second offence, besides undergoing a long imprisonment, they are whipped, and banished out of the country; but the natives are immediately brought away to the hospital. The main building consists of two quadrangles, with galleries round them; one for the men, and the other for the women. They dine separately, in their respec­tive halls, to the number of some hundreds at a time, in each apartment. The two sexes have also their particular time for hearing mass, and are separated from the rest of the congregation by an iron grate.

Piedmont will preserve the memory of King Victor, as France preserves that of Louis XIV. Turin every [Page 26] where displaying that Prince's magnificence. Near half this city was built by him, on an uniform plan; the better part of the fortifications, the gates, the hos­pital, the university, the country college, several royal seats in the neighbourhood, are works of his reign; lastly, for his burial-place, he has erected a splendid church, where a numerous community of secular priests officiate. This church stands on the top of a high mountain, East of Turin, and was built in pursuance of a vow made by him, when Turin was besieged by the Duke of Orleans, in 1706; that he would, if victorious, erect a church on that spot, from which, with Prince Eugene, he had observed the distribution of the operations of the enemy's troops before the town.

It is called the Superga; the ascent to it is so ex­tremely rapid and difficult, even now, that it seems to have been almost impossible for human art and address, to have brought together the materials here employed. The front presents a fine portico, above which, to a very great height, rises a dome, crowned by a cupola; on each side is a steeple, finished up to a point. The entrance to the church is noble, and the inside very striking; it is quite round, and richly ornamented with pillars of the Corinthian order, of grey marble, four feet and a half each in diameter. Here is a great profusion of fine marble, the walls [Page 27] being incrusted with it. Piedmont affords a prodi­gious variety; one sort, peculiar to this country, is re­markably beautiful, being veined in shades of brown and yellow, like what is commonly called in England, Egyptian pebble. From the cupola, a prospect of an amazing extent opens itself on all sides. In a clear day Milan appears in view; the rivers Po, Doria, Isturia, meandering along, form islands without num­ber. The variety of tints this prospect presents is wonderful; the richest green pasturage in the vallies, hills cloathed with vines, mountains covered with snow, together with the city of Turin and all its en­virons. The present King said, in viewing Turin, from this height,—"It is well strangers do not see Turin, for the first time, from the top of Superga, or they would have but a mean opinion of my town." It is wonderful how very inconsiderable Turin ap­pears, though it cannot be above two English miles distant, in a stra it line. The late King would not permit the road to be made commodious up to the Superga, in his reign. Probably his reason might have been, to demonstrate to those who ascend it, the trouble and expence attendant upon the convey­ance of materials for the building. At present, it is not too good, nor is it as well as it might be, although much has been done. The soil is a stiff clay, which makes the ascending of the mountain very fatiguing and troublesome.

[Page 28]The palace most frequented by the royal family is La Venerie; the court generally continuing there from Spring to December. It is about a league from Turin. The road that leads to it is well paved, and the greatest part of it planted with trees on each side; it is not always in a direct line, but runs a little winding between fine meadows, fields, and vineyards. At a quarter of a league distance from the city, is the campagne de notre Dame; when, in 1706, the French trenches, now marked by stones between the fields, were forced. This palace is much admired by the Turinese, and the French, for its architecture, gardens, &c. Before the King's palace is a street of houses, built of stone, and inhabited by private per­sons. The palace is not yet completed. In two chambers, adjoining to the King's apartment, are the pictures of thirty of his Majesty's ancestors, with Latin inscriptions, signifying their most famous at­chievements. Beyond these is the chamber of pic­tures, of the Emperors of Germany, another of the Kings of France, and another of the Kings of Eng­land, from the Saxon line, down to Queen Anne. The portrait of Elizabeth appears to be greatly flat­tered; she appears to be about eighteen years of age, with fine large black eyes and black hair, and that beau­tiful complexion, the French call brune clair. These portraits are all as big as life. In another apartment are a great many equestrian portraits, chiefly women. [Page 29] These Amazons are dressed in the Spanish fashion, and mounted on prancing horses. Each lady is drawn properly dressed for the chace; and, as all their hats and riding-dresses are much alike, they are dis­tinguished by silk bridles to their horses, of different colours: this was really an order of the late King, that he might be able to distinguish them from one another at a little distance. Among others is the picture of the famous Countess of Verue. This lady was, for a long time, the reigning favourite at the court of Turin, with the late Monarch; from which place she had the address to escape, and carried with her jewels and other valuables to a great amount. Her escape was planned with infinite address, to avoid detection. The reason assigned was, an apprehension of a change in the King's affections, in which case she would have been immured in a nunnery for life. Keysler mentions having visited her afterwards in Paris, where she lived in great splendor and mag­nificence. It seems, from one or two anecdotes, re­lated by the above author, in which our countrymen were concerned, this lady had given no small reason to excite the jealousy of the King: an English noble­man having been near passing the night under the Countess's bed. It seems he had been disturbed in in his visits by the unexpected arrival of the King; and there was no other place so proper for conceal­ment. He was discovered; and this nobleman's [Page 30] situation, in a country where rivalry is no light of­fence, was something more than disagreeable; but his Majesty's generosity scorned to resent itself on any man, at a disadvantage. Another time, this same nobleman found the King knew how to get rid of such guests as came without invitation; for the King intending another unexpected visit to the Countess, used such precautions, that before she knew any thing of his coming, he was in her chamber, where he found my Lord sitting with her at table. His resentment, however, went no further, than taking a light in each hand, and making a sign to him, who readily complied, fearing worse consequences; he lighted him down stairs; there the King very coolly said to him, "that he might now boast of having been lighted down stairs by the Duke of Savoy; but that he ad­vised him, as a friend, never to shew his face there again." Of this advice, says Keysler, he was so very observant, that he set out the next day to finish his travels. Another of our young hopeful nobility, being also enamoured with the Countess, indulged his fancy so far, as to look at her through a spying-glass, during the whole time of an opera. As little agree­able as this must be to the King, his manner of sending away this Lors Anglois, cannot be charged with severity. The next day two men were appointed to follow our young nobleman wherever he went, whose sole business it was to be looking at him with [Page 31] spying glasses. It was not till after two days, that he took notice of these new attendants; and, being at no loss to account for the meaning of their behaviour, he thought it adviseable to leave Turin immediately, and look out for adventures elsewhere. When his Majesty was informed of the Countess's elopement, he was heard to say, that he never was engaged with any woman who did not deceive him, and avoided the sex ever after: a speech which seems to be a little severe; as it appears, says Keysler, from un­questionable authority, that when the allies intended to deprive the Duke of Savoy of the kingdom of Sicily, he was advised of it by the Countess, from Paris, sooner than they could have wished.

But to return to La Venerie; the Orangerie is much esteemed for its architecture; it is 582 feet long, 51 broad, and 40 high; the front is ornamented with pillars of the Ionic order. The stables also are very beautiful, and seem to be to the full as large as the Orangerie; they contain two hundred horses. The gardens were laid out by a Frenchman; one would think, says Lady Millar, this good man had taken his idea of planting gardens from some of Euclid's prob­lems. They are of great extent; the walks all strait, and cutting each other at right angles, leaving square plantations, and quarters of beech and beech-wood, frequently intersected by narrow alleys, so that they [Page 32] form triangular figures, wounding the eye by their uniformity. As all these right lines produce what is called stars, of one kind or other; and in the cop­pices are great plenty of pheasants, hares, and chev­reuils, where his Majesty amuses himself with la chasse a fusil. Taking part in the centre of the star, where many of these angles meet, he is secure of much sport; the piqueurs enter the quarters and drive out the game; who crossing the alley, seek the opposite problem; mean-time the King lets fly at them, and knocks them down at pleasure.

What pleased me most at La Venerie, says Keysler, is the royal chapel, designed by Filippo. The cupola, is of a graceful height; within this chapel are statues of St. Ambrose, St. Chrysostom, St. Augustin, and St. Jerom, standing on red, green, and yellow marble pedestals. The statues are of white marble, in the gigantic taste, and were brought here from Rome. The high altar is a glorious fight; and there is scarce any kind of marble not to be seen in this chapel, either in the pillars or altars.

Rivoli is another royal palace, about three leagues from Turin, towards Susa. The whole road runs in a direct line, through fields, meadows, and vineyards; it was planted since the siege of Turin, in the year 1712; the French, among other devastations, having [Page 33] rooted up every tree throughout the country. This walk yields a very beautiful prospect; and at one end, stands the palace of Rivoli, on an eminence; and at the other, Turin; and about two leagues be­yond that, in a strait line, the stately church of Su­perga. The air is continually clear and healthy, and creates a sharp appetite; but, on account of its subtilty and keenness, is not so agreeable to sleep in.

The palace of Valentin was formerly the scene of most of the court diversions and entertainments; it lies just without the walls of Turin. This palace is so called, as may be seen in the memoirs of the Count de Grammont, from the title given to those gentlemen, who, on St. Valentine's day, wait upon the ladies; it being a general custom all over Italy, for single women to choose some one, among their male friends and acquaintances, on that day, who is to gallant them wherever they go; and who, to discharge his office with honour, must present them with nosegays, and other bagatelles. This attendance, which expires at the year's end, is not liable to any exception; and is often terminated by marriage. The parents, in the mean-time, are very watchful over their daughters' behaviour; and things are generally conducted with so much decorum and honour, that even the monks themselves make no scruple to take upon them the office of a Valentine; and, possibly it is nobody's [Page 34] interest so much as theirs to recommend the inno­cence of these intercourse between the sexes. But, as their Valentine gallantries are entirely left off at court, so the palace at Valentin is also neglected.

About a small league from Turin, by the side of the road, grows a very large elm-tree; beneath the shadow of whose spreading branches, the late King, when Duke of Savoy, held a council of war with Prince Eugene, the Prince of Anhalt, and the Mar­quis de Prie, a Piedmontese General, on the 5th September 1706, in which they determined upon the manner and attack of the French lines: this event took place on the 7th of the same month; in which famous action the French army was entirely routed, Marshal Marsin killed, and the siege of Turin raised.

The marshal died two hours after the battle, often repeating these words, Tout est perdu mais Je n'en suis pas la cause. "All is lost, but not owing to me." Of fifteen thousand prisoners, most of them died with hunger and hardships. This siege lasted four months and a half; and the breach on the side of the citadel was so wide, that a whole battalion in front might have marched into it; the only resource left the besieged was, to keep a large fire burning continually in the breach. All utensils, and furniture made of wood, were used for this purpose; and, in several parts of [Page 35] the city, the roofs of the houses were pulled down for the sake of the wood for fuel; and, by these means, the breach was defended till the town was relieved. The King of Sardinia, during that siege, was at his last gasp; and, after the victory, was reported, in the first transports of joy, to have said, "He was very near being obliged to dance attendance in the Emperor's anti-chamber.

Near the capuchin monastery, on the mountain, a fine villa, called La vìgne de Madame Royale, stands upon an eminence. Bernini, the famous architect and sculptor, used to reckon this building the best in, or near, Turin. During the minority, under the regent Christina, both the house and garden were often the scenes of riot and debauchery. On this account, in the King's advanced age, when he was as it were inflamed with an eternal zeal for religion, the place became so odious to him, that, upon the death of Ma­dame Royale, he bestowed it upon an hospital. The directors, in hopes to make a great deal of money by the sale of the materials, began to pull it down; but the profits falling short of their expectations, a stop was put to the demolition of it; so that now the house makes a very desolate appearance.

In the environs of this city, the first spot visited by every stranger is the airing-place, or corso, called the [Page 36] Valentin; this is an avenue, formed by four rows of losty trees, conducting to the palace, which is at the end, and situated at the borders of the Po. There are also other avenues; one of which leads to the church, called the Servites. The royal family, and almost every body at Turin, who are not bed-rid, lying-in, or dying, make their appearance in these avenues every day, from the hours of five or six until seven; when they change their ground to another avenue, at some distance from these, and very near the citadel. This they leave at eight, for the theatre, or some pri­vate assembly. Those who cannot afford to keep equipages are here on foot; and, let the weather be fine or rainy, the coaches never fail to come. The royal family make a noble appearance, particularly the coach of the Duchess of Savoy, which is very mag­nificent; she drives with eight horses, and a consider­able cortége, consisting of her ladies, pages, &c. in other carriages; all conducted with the utmost dignity and tranquility. The young princes frequently alight and walk; and the princesses sometimes amuse themselves with walking in the gardens of the palace of Valentin. The coaches, in general, are very splendid, and make a brilliant appearance; the ladies, likewise, are decked out for this daily parade in all their finery.

The setting out of the cavalcade for the royal chace, from the palace of Stupenige, another of the King's [Page 37] hunting seats, about six miles from Turin, is a fine sight. The chaises of the court precede all others, agreeable to established etiquette. The Duchess of Savoy goes first, the elder princesses next, and so on; then come the ambassadors, foreign ministers, &c. The livery of the hunt is scarlet, richly laced with silver. Whoever is well-born, (a gentleman inde­pendant of trade, and some of the professions) what is called here, and in all these countries, noblesse, is permitted to be of the hunt; and wearing the livery may breakfast with the king at Stupenige. This fa­vour extends also to strangers, properly introduced at court. There are very fine ridings cut through the forest, adjacent to the palace, and it is plen­tifully stocked with game. The great number of huntsmen, with the gay appearance of the whole ca­valcade, upon a fine day, has, in appearance, the ad­vantage of any other chace. The gentlemen are on horseback, and the ladies of the court all in postchaises, with two wheels, conveyed by post-horses; and there are relays, in different parts of the forest, for a change. The chacers belong to the court, and are all alike, rather plain than ornamented; but neatly made, and as fit for the purpose of hunting as any carriages can be. The sound of the French-horns, repeated by the echos, with the cry of the hounds, and the shouts of the men, contribute not a little to animate this scene. Upon the conclusion of the hunt, all the chaises are [Page 38] drawn up in form of an amphitheatre; the gentlemen of the court and hunt then dismount, and converse with the ladies; while the stag is embowelled, and the entrails distributed to the dogs. The duchess then generally sends a foot of the stag, with some gracious compliment, to any stranger at the hunt, whom she means to honour; as was done to Lady Millar, from whom we extracted this narration of the royal chace.

No royal family in Europe are more rigid observers of the laws of etiquette, than that of Sardinia; all their movements are uniform and invariable. The hour of rising, of going to mass, of taking the air; every thing is regulated like clock-work. The King gives audiences from six to eleven, every morning; goes to mass about twenty minutes before twelve; dines at half after twelve; takes an afternoon's airing; and sups so exactly at ten, that he leaves the opera, some­times, a few minutes before it is finished, if it exceeds ever so little the hour of ten.

The King's table is plentiful, but plain; every ar­ticle is furnished by purveyors, at a moderate rate. What remains from his table is served to the Lords and Ladies of the bedchamber; and, from them, down to the equeries, pages, &c.

[Page 39]Employments, at the court of Turin, are esteemed as giving consideration and precedence, rather than for their pecuniary value; no appointment here is suf­ficient to support the rank with any tolerable degree of decency.

CHAP. V. People, Character, Customs, Manners, Police, &c.

THE women are extremely beautiful and fair in this country; though, indeed, the ladies of Mi­lan and Venice almost vie with them, in complexion and features. They have the whitest skin, says Lady Millar, of any women I ever saw. They never wear rouge, which is something more extraordinary. They dress well, and are singulary genteel in their undresses. If they are gallant, they conduct themselves with the utmost decency; and inconstancy is looked upon as the greatest of crimes. Friendships of twenty and thirty years are not uncommon; at the same time it is not to be supposed there are no coquettes; but the [Page 40] court sets so virtuous an example, that the utmost pre­caution and circumspection is necessary to those who have any thing to conceal.

The Piedmontese, says Busching, are accounted lively, artful, and witty; the inhabitants of the moun­tains of Aosta excepted, who are further distinguished by large wens; as are even their dogs, and other ani­mals. There seems to be a great contrast in character between the two provinces of Savoy and Piedmont; it being a common observation, that among ten Pied­montese, there may possibly be one honest man; but that one knave is hardly to be found among ten Sa­voyards. This, however, is certain, says Keysler, that the Piedmontese, in general, are very acute and cun­ning; and it were to be wished they always made a good use of their talents; but their schemes are gene­rally so well laid, and attended with so much contri­vance and invention, that one cannot but admire their finesse. In the year 1695 a Piedmontese, who stiled himself Count Curaffa, came to Vienna, and privately waited on the prime minister, pretending he was sent by the Duke of Savoy, on a very important affair, which they two were to negociate, without the privity of the French court. At the same time he produced his credentials, in which the Duke's seal and signature were exactly imitated. He met with a favourable re­ception; and, without affecting any privacy, took upon [Page 41] him the title of Envoy Extraordinary from the court of Savoy. At a private concert, the captain of the guard denying him admittance, he had the assurance to demand satisfaction, in his master's name, and the captain was obliged to ask his pardon. His first care was to ingratiate himself with the Jesuits, who bore great sway at court; and, to this end, he went to visit their church; which, at that time remaining un­finished, as they pretended, from the low state of their finances; he asked them how much money would complete it. An estimate to the amount of 2000 louis­d'ors being laid before him, Caraffa assured them of his constant attachment to their order; and that they might immediately proceed in building their church. In consequence of his promise he sent that very day 2000 louis-d'ors, at which sum the charge had been computed. He was sensible that this was a part he could not act long, without being detected; and, that this generosity might not be at his own at his own ex­pence, he invited a great number of ladies of rank to a supper and ball. Every one of his guests promised to be there; but he complained to them of the ill re­turns made to his civilities, adding that he had often been disappointed; as the ladies, on those occasions, made no scruple of breaking their words; and, in a jocular way, insisted on a pledge, from every lady, for her appearance on the day appointed. One gave him a ring, another a pearl necklace, a third a pair of ear­rings, [Page 42] a fourth a gold watch; and several such trinkets, to the amount of between two and three thousand pounds. On the evening appointed not one of the guests was missing; but it may easily be conceived what a damp it struck upon the whole assembly, when it was found that the gay Piedmontese had disappeared. Nor had the Jesuits any great reason to applaud them­selves for their dissimulation; as, a few days before his departure, the pretended count, putting on an air of deep concern, placed himself in the way of the Emperor's confessor; who, enquiring into the cause of his apparent melancholy, he entrusted him with the important secret; that he was short of money at a junc­ture when 8000 louis-d'ors were immediately wanted for his master's affairs, to be distributed at the Imperial court. The Jesuits, to whom he had recently given such an instance of his liberality, immediately furnished him with the sum he wanted; and with this viaticum, and the ladies' pledges, he very prudently withdrew. Some years after he was taken up for an exploit very different from the last, and the Duke gave orders for beheading him; but the sentence was mitigated into perpetual imprisonment, his council having very elo­quently enlarged upon a maxim of law, quod excellens in arte non debeat mori; that is, "He who excels in any art, ought not to be put to death.

[Page 43]Quickness of parts and penetration is not here con­fined to the great and learned, but even conspicuous in people of the lowest class; to which, besides the warmth and serenity of the country, their frequent in­tercourse with the French, says Keysler, may not have a little contributed. In the mountains of Aosta, where neither of these circumstances concur, the inha­bitants are an exception to this general character of the Piedmontese. They seldom travel beyond their hills and vallies; and scarce think there is any part of the world inhabited, besides the spot they live upon, and the wens are the consequence of the mud-water they drink. Such is the power of custom, that a wen by them is reckoned no deformity; and a story goes about, that a foreign woman, who had no wen, coming into one of their churches in sermon time, a general laughter was heard among them, at so uncommon an appearance. It is added, that even the preacher could not contain himself for some time; but, recovering his gravity, he represented to his auditory, that though they might not mean any harm, the natural defects of our neighbour were not a subject of laughter; and that a christian, on such occasions, should rather be thankful to his Maker for his bounty to him, than in­sult his fellow-creatures, from whom God had with­held his blessings.

[Page 44]As to the ladies' behaviour at Turin, says Keysler, it must be owned extremely free; for they are continually talking to the gentlemen, and laughing so excessively as, in other places, would expose them to censure. Every one has her gallant, and a confident for carrying on intrigues; and with these they chiefly converse in as­semblies; but a foreigner, who is not disposed to live extravagantly, must not expect his acquaintance will be much sought for by the gay part of the fair sex. Vanity, and fondness for praise, induce them to make a mighty shew of politeness to strangers; they rise up to them, at their coming into an assembly, talk with them of the weather, the opera, and such indifferent matters; but this is their ne plus ultra. Their beha­viour of the first week continues the same for two or three months; but these civilities decline much sooner, if they imagine a stranger means to make a longer stay at the court, or in the city.

Piedmont, says Baretti, who was a native of this province, never produced a single poet; they are even, says he, insensible to the beauties of an Orlando and a Goffredo; which will instantly warm a Roman, a Tuscan, a Venetian, and a Neapolitan. It is likewise observable, that no Piedmontese ever attained to any degree of excellence in the polite arts; but though they are not to be compared with the rest of the Ita­lians, for brilliancy of imagination and justness of taste, [Page 45] yet, as warriors, none can equal them. Every one con­versant in history knows the brave stand made by them, for centuries, whenever their territories have been in­vaded by France, by Spain, or by Germany. It is true they have frequently been overpowered by num­bers; but they have instantaneosly recovered from their defeat, and given sufficient cause of repentance to the nation that has endeavoured, in vain, to subdue them. Such is the martial spirit of Piedmont, that even the grossest peasants are ambitious of appearing in a military character. Their skill in fortifications is great, and cannot be exceed by the Vaubans and the Cohorns. Those places, which inferior engineers would have made only strong, they have made im­pregnable.

The Turinese nobles are proud of their descent; and disdain all intercourse with those of their fellow-subjects, whom they think a degree below themselves; or, when admitted to some familiarity, their condescen­sion is such a compound of urbanity and haughtiness, that proves disgustful to men of spirit. Many of them have obtained the reputation of skilful politicians; but their aversion to all scientific acquisitions is so great, that few of them have their own language; (I do not mean their patois) fewer still the Latin, and perhaps there is not even one, says Baretti, who can read the alphabet in Greek.

[Page 46]Nor are the first and second rank of women more informed. A few French romances form their libra­ries; nor is it in Piedmont one must expect rational entertainment in the conversation of the fair. Some few of them plunge into gross immorality; but, for the most part, even when young and handsome, they give into incorrigible bigotry.

The artisans and peasantry excel all the rest of Italy. No nation can cope with them for their industry and skill in their manufactures and their husbandry. Such are the leading traits of their character, as delineated by Bareiti, who was himself a native of the capital.

We may add, what seems agreed by all writers, that though the government of Piedmont is arbitrary, the peasants are rich and happy. They pay no diximies, vingtiemes, nor taille, as in France. They can afford to live comfortably; have cattle in abundance, as well as implements of husbandry to carry on their agricul­culture; and are, on Sundays, or jours de sête, well dressed in clothes made of silk. The universal orna­ment of their women is a necklace, of five or six rows of gold beads, pretty large, with a cross and ear-rings of the same metal; which generally cost them from three to six hundred livres, of Piedmont, and some­times more. Every married paysanne is decorated with [Page 47] these ornaments, more or less expensive, according to their means.

Duels are not very frequent; but, when they hap­pen, they fight with ferocity, and an obstinacy that shocks humanity. The general place of appointment is a little ifland, formed by the Po, just within what is called the Port da Po.

The theatre is under great restrictions from the police. Before an opera is to be performed, the King himself takes the pains to read it over; and to erase every line that can admit of an indecent, or double meaning. This attention is particularly paid to the theatre on account of the morals of the royal family. The King is so rigidly virtuous, that he never goes to the comic opera, nor permits any of his own family to attend it. Also in regard to the dances, as the Ita­lian taste is more inclined to the grotesque, than the serious, the danseuses jump very high, and kick up their heels in a more surprizing, than graceful man­ner; but, if their attitudes happen to be unguarded, they have a sharp rebuke from the police. The de­licate Zamperini, after her return from England, ex­pressed too much licentiousness in her action and manner; for which she had an immediate order, from the Duchess of Savoy, to quit at once those airs, which La Signiora instantly obeyed. The black [Page 48] drawers, worn by the danseuses, have a very disgusting appearance.

The police is so strict here as to prevent any riots in the streets; for if three or four persons only are seen, conversing together with animation, the Guet, or guard, comes up; and, if any thing mysterious ap­pears in their manner, or that they cannot give a good account of themselves, they are imprisoned. The wine-houses are never free from emissaries of the po­lice. Thus plotting of every kind is, in a great mea­sure, prevented, by their vigilance, whether against government, or individuals. No disorderly women are permitted to walk the streets. The Laquais de place are generally here, as they were in Paris, in the pay of the police; and inform them of all they can dis­cover, in regard to the strangers, whom they serve. Each Aubergiste makes two returns every night, of the strangers lodged with them; their names, professions, country, &c. and, as far as they can guess, or learn from Laquais de place, couriers, postillions, or voiturins, where they last came from, their business at Turin, their in­tended stay, and their future destination. One of these papers is carried to the commandant of the town, the other to the Lieutenant de police, by a person whose business it is to call for the same, nightly, at each au­bergiste; by ten o'clock the next morning the King has all these returns.

[Page 49]In regard to strangers, they scarce utter a word that is not carefully treasured up; they should therefore be on their guard in speaking their sentiments, as it has often happened that without any intention to in­jure them, says Lady Millar, what they have said in certain companies has been misrepresented to govern­ment; for, unfortunately, some people in Turin have learned just English enough to qualify them to make capital mistakes, when they relate something they have heard an Englishman say. Upon the arrival of the post, the letters are immediately carried to the mi­nisters of state; who open, read, and send them back to the post-office, with permission for their delivery to the foreign ministers, and others, according to their addresses. Nor does it unfrequently happen that they are detained, until couriers have been dispatched with letters of importance, which sometimes occasions a de­lay of several hours. The express sent by the minister must necessarily get the start of the earliest that can be forwarded, by any ambassador, or foreign minister, as no courier, or other person, can have post-horses with­out an order from the commandant. These may cer­tainly be deemed very prudent and political measures.

The inquisition is under excellent regulations; for the present King, finding great abuses had crept into this holy repository, such as seizing and conveying away persons, upon various trifling pretences, often [Page 50] suggested by pique and resentment; and this holy of­fice having been known to employ its power to gal­lant purposes; these, and the like corruptions, have brought this court into such abhorrence, with the King and people, that no person can now be imprisoned by order of the inquisitors, until the matter has been made known to his Majesty; upon which one, or more, of the privy counsellors are commissioned to ex­amine the prisoner, in person, and make their report to the King; and, even then, the degree of punish­ment must be specified to his Majesty. Thus, since the powers of these holy fiends have been contracted, their dungeons are become almost tenantless; as peo­ple are grown too wary to expose themselves to their snares, for any opinions they may entertain in regard to matters of faith.

No inhabitant can re-build, or repair his house at Turin, but within the great general plan laid down for the improvement of the town; either he must con­form to the plan, or sell to those who will. Thus must this city daily increase, in the beauty and propor­tion of its structures. By ordinance it is prohibited to breed, or keep silk-worms in Turin, their smell being pernicious to health; but great encouragement is given for their increase in the country round about, where they thrive prodigiously. A good mulberry-tree will let for, from three to nine livres per annum; six is a [Page 51] common price, when in a moderate state of perfection or maturity. The water-meadows, about Turin, are so enriched by their manner of dressing, that they yield three, and, sometimes, four crops a year.

The roads near Turin are admirable. In England they can never be like those in despotic governments, private property with us being sacred and valuable by its security; once give up our liberty, and we shall have excellent strait roads; for the monarch of Turin may command the highway to be carried through the bed-chamber of any individual, should it happen to obstruct his intended plan.

No publication is allowed of here, that might tend to give insight into the revenues, government, or po­licy of this country; this caution excites curiosity, and accounts for their being more enquired into and sifted, than the affairs of other countries where there is less mystery.

Mountebanks and quack-doctors seem to reign here with unrestrained freedom. It is indeed ordered, un­der pain of death, by the university of Turin, that none of these itinerants shall presume to sell any me­dicines, without a licence from the professor of physic; yet every place swarms with these haranguers; so that the professor must either be very free of his licences, [Page 52] or these impostors must give him another kind of drug, very different to that which they sell to the people. The place du chateau is never without a stage or two erected for these quacks; where they emulate each other with music, drolleries, &c. in order to increase the number of their hearers. The manner in which these empyrics recommend their medicines has some­thing in it so very extraordinary, that it deserves to be mentioned. I happened, says Keysler, to hear one who began his harangue in this solemn manner. "Blessed be the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom I desire no more than that, according to his righteousness, he will deal with me at the last judgment, as I shall deal with you this day. I venture my whole substance out of a ten­der concern for your health; but the devil, that eternal enemy to all good, so blinds your eyes, that you look upon a few sous as if they were an hundred crowns, and thus neglect your own welfare, and that of your relations; which you might recover and confirm for a trifle. If I take but a doit from you, against my con­science, I wish I may be swallowing your melted mo­ney in hell, world without end, Amen, &c."

This impostor's panacea consisted of two powders, which were insallible remedies against the bloody-flux, the falling-sickness, the cholic, megrim, consumption and dropsy; and both these powders were sold for so small a price as a parabajole, or penny; from which [Page 53] one may judge of the excellence of their ingredients. The tooth-drawers seem to retain some sense of mo­desty; as they never fail to assure the person who is under their hands, that they will draw out the tooth with all imaginable ease and safety, con adjuto di Santa Apollonia; "with the Assistance of St. Apollonia," the patroness and preserver of teeth; and every time St. Apollonia is named, the doctor and his audience take off their hats, in reverence to the saint.

Most of the parts of the body have their particular patrons with the Roman Catholics; as St. Agatha, for the breast; St. Blasius, for the throat; concerning whom one patient, by mistake, prayed thus; S. Guttur rogo te ut liberes me a malo Blasii, i, e. "St. Throat, I pray thee to deliver me from the pain of Blaise." Many of these saints seem to claim this patronage from the sound of their name; as St. Clare, for sore eyes; St. Stapinus, for the gout; St. Pancrace, by the com­mon people called St. Crampace, against the cramp, and nervous disorders. In like manner among the heathens, Mercury presided over the feet; Minerva had the care of the fingers; and the eyes were under Apollo's protection.

To prevent exactions from the peasants in raising the price of wood, during winter, there are four large storehouses of wood and coal belonging to the city; [Page 54] and, when the peasants are for taking advantage from the weather, fuel is sold from this magazine at a rea­sonable rate.

The late king would take nothing from the report of others, concerning the police of the city; but ex­amined every thing in person, from the most important transactions of his subjects, down to the minutiae of the lowest peasants, who supply the markets, in order to be fully satisfied how far justice was done, by those en­trusted with the execution of the laws; and whether he was himself imposed upon by his own purveyors. The present King, it is said, pays more attention to his nobles; places more confidence in the reports made him by his courtiers; and is, consequently less popular among the lower classes of people, than his father. However, he treads in the steps of his prede­cessor, in one respect, very closely. He has a mortal aversion to, what is called by connoisseurs, le nud; as three fine antique statues here bear witness, an Adonis, a Satyr, and a Hercules. The late king, says Lady Mil­lar, shewed his sense of decency at the expence of three very fine Venus's, by Guido, which he ordered to be cut in two; and, from the breast downward, burnt, by his order. The face, neck, and shoulders of these goddesses were perfectly beautiful; and, we may suppose, the rest of their persons were as full of merit, being the produc­tion of so great a master.

[Page 55]The university, besides its spaciousness, is one of the finest buildings in the city; particularly its front, towards Rue de l'academie, which is very large, lofty, and magnificent. The professors, of which there are a considerable number, are called sapientissimi patres. All the learned professions, throughout the whole country, require a previous examination, by the uni­versity, with proper recommendations. No noisy trade is allowed near it. The apartment, appropri­ated for the library, contains a valuable collection of books, with a museum of antiques. Amongst the re­markable curiosities in this museum, is a little vellum book, much prized by the dilettanti; it containing a design of the famous Julio Romano in every leaf. This museum and the library are open for several hours every day, both morning and evening; not only for the students of the university, but for strangers to have free access to. The number of students, at present, is computed to be above three thousand. Whenever I went thither, says Grosley, I was much surprized to see the library always full of young ec­clesiastics, busied in the study of the fathers, and other works relating to their profession. This epocha for learning, among them, was only from the last years of the reign of King Victor. This prince deprived the Jesuits of the direction of the public studies, and their place has been supplied by the university.

[Page 56]It is not difficult for a stranger to get admittance into the first circles of Turin, provided he is disposed to play; but if he plays, he must be very much on his guard; for though he may have to do with persons of the strictest honour, and no foul play in the least to be apprehended; yet, if he is not a very expert gamester indeed, he is certain to come off a loser. The Pied­montese play at dice, as it were, from their infancy; and thus attain to such perfection in this art, that very sew are a match for them. A very celebrated coffee-house here for gaming, was that called L'Aca­demie de Pompeio; in which the famous projector Law, once playing at dice, promised to return four-fifths of what he should win; yet, in a short time, his share amounted to ninety louis-d'ors; upon which he pointed out the faults he had observed in the dice; and how, from thence, he could infer what sides would come up oftenest, or seldomest.

Of the inconveniences to be met with in Turin, the most obvious are the thick fogs; which, in autumn and winter, are continually rising from the Po, and other rivers; by which the air is rendered thick and moist, and, consequently unhealthy. These exhalations very much incommode the city, which is often in­volved in fogs and rain; while Rivoli enjoys a serene sky, and bright sunshine.

[Page 57]Another inconvenience, almost as bad, arises from the foul muddy water in most of the wells in this city; chiefly owing to an unpardonable negligence, in not keeping them sweet and clean; dead dogs and cats, and other filth, being often thrown into them.

The inns also stand in great need of better regula­tion, that travellers may be well used, and not so into­lerably imposed upon. There is not a place, in all Italy, where the entertainment is so bad, at the same expence.

The manner of burying their dead is also very dis­agreeable. The corpse is carried in procession to the ground, with the face uncovered, where it is put into the grave, without any coffin. This is not only a shocking spectacle, at all times, but, when the deceased happens to die of the small-pox, measles, or any contagious distemper, it may cause a very unhappy impression on pregnant women, and other persons, who are liable to catch the infection. The masked fraternities, who oftend attend at funerals, of whom nothing but the eyes are to be seen, make indeed a dreadful, but a very shabby procession. It is also very disagreeable that, even when there is any contagious distemper in the city, three or four corpses shall lie a whole day, in the churches, uncovered. Persons of rank have family vaults, in the churches and chapels; but the lower [Page 58] sort are thrown into a vault, belonging to their parish church, fifty, or an hundred and fifty together; and without any coffins. These receptacles, indeed, are very deep, and have several doors, the passage leading to them being vaulted; but this cannot prevent the cadaverous smell, and noxious effluvia, from pene­trating into the churches. This impropriety is not peculiar to Turin, but common to most large cities, especially in Popish countries; yet it is a practice contrary to reason, and ought entirely to be laid aside in every country. In this particular, says Keysler, I am mightily pleased with Dr. Verbeyen, professor of physic and anatomy, at Louvain; who composed the following epitaph, for himself, in Latin. "Philip Verbeyen, Doctor and Professor of Physic, ordered his remains to be buried in the church-yard here, that he might not pollute the church, and infect it, with noxious effluvia. May he rest in peace!"

CHAP. VI. Commerce, Revenues, and Government.

THE substance of the commerce of Piedmont is raw silk. The Piedmontese nobility keep large stocks of silk-worms, which, under certain restrictions, they commit to the care of their tenants; the punctual attendance they require being a work of no small trouble. The proprietor furnishes the eggs; and, in return, has half the silk. From the number of white mulberry-trees, in any person's plantation, it is nearly computed how many worms the owner may breed. The number of worms produced from a single ounce of eggs will consume, from eighty, to one hun­dred and forty rubbs of mulberry leaves; each rubb weighs five-and-twenty pounds. These leaves, when sold, fetch from ten, to five-and-twenty sols per rubb. The eggs sell from three and a half, to five livres an ounce. An ounce of eggs will sometimes yield four rubbs of cods, with the silk on; every pound of which is worth from twenty, to five-and-twenty sols: these [Page 60] being thrown into warm water, the threads are easily detached, and wound off to the very last. A pound of fine silk, thus wound, fetches a louis-d'or.

Grazing likewise turns to such good account, that the profits on this article are computed at three mil­lions of livres; a considerable part of which arises from the sale of bullocks, to the Milanese. There are some salt-springs in Savoy; of which the King has the entire profit; he disposes of the whole profit to the Switzers.

Many of the manufactures of Turin are carried on for the King's account; as tobacco, salt, lead, &c. All the salt consumed in the kingdom comes from Sar­dinia; every head of a family is obliged to take eight pounds yearly, for each individual of his family, who has passed the seventeenth year; for each cow or ox two, for every hog four, at four sols per pound; if he happens to want more he has it half that price. The farmers here give their cattle salt, at certain seasons, which certainly succeeds extremely well; it being im­possible too see finer cattle, of every kind, than in this country. The oxen and cows are nearly quite white; they are shaded with grey and brown, in a most beau­tiful manner, and have remarkably pretty faces, with pencilled eyebrows. There is scarce a table at Turin where a soup made of veal, served with the bouillie, is [Page 61] not a standing dish; and frequently veal, repeated again, at the same repast, under some other form; for it is a piece of policy here to cry down the beef as unwhole­some, though as fine as any in Leadenhall market, in order to persuade the people to consume the veal; the full-grown oxen being driven to Genoa, where they yield a better price than in the Genoa market.

The chief trade of this city and country, says Mar­tyn, is in thrown silk, which is sent to England and Lyons; they manufacture, however, some of it into excellent stockings, and good silk for furniture. They are likewise famous for rosoli, millefleurs, snuff, cha­mois, gloves, and some other trifles. They import broad-cloth and linen from Great Britain; some woollen and Lyon goods from France; linens from Switzerland and Silesia: also iron, copper, sugar, and drugs of all sorts. Their chief export is cattle, some hemp and cordage; they reckon that upwards of ninety thousand bullocks are annually sent out of Piedmont. A great deal of wine is made at Pied­mont, but it is not good; the principal attention of government has been bestowed on the cultivation of mulberry trees. Rice also is a great object of culture in some provinces.

The affairs relating to the finances, in all courts, are kept secret; and, necessarily, much more so here. [Page 62] A certain statesman, however, says Keysler, estimates the King's entire yearly revenue at twenty millions of Piedmontese livres; of which the duties on silk pro­duce five, and those on hemp and rice, three millions. As to the kingdom of Sardinia, it is evident, that the charges of the troops and civil officers being de­ducted, the residue of the annual income from that kingdom, cannot exceed a hundred thousand livres; and that the importance of that country, to the house of Savoy, is more on account of its regality, than its revenue.

In the King's territories, on the continent, are six­teen bishoprics; among which are the two archbishops of Turin and the Tarantaise. Besides the city of Turin, above three hundred and forty towns and vil­lages are subject to the jurisdiction of the former; and as, among the Roman Catholics, every one is obliged to communicate at Easter, and deliver to the priest an account of his children and family, the whole number of the inhabitants, of such a country, may be pretty accurately known; and I have been assured, say; Keysler, from such computations, the King's subjects in Piedmont and Savoy, and other parts on the con­tinent, amount to two millions, and some thousands.

The duty on snuff is farmed for four hundred thou­sand livres; and travellers should be careful to have [Page 63] no foreign tobacco among their baggage. At first it was farmed only for twelve thousand; afterwards the same person, being a Jew, paid more than treble that sum for it; and when a friend dissuaded him, observing it would probably ruin him, he replied, "The use of snuff is a pernicious custom, and consequently will daily increase; so that there is no danger to be appre­hended from raising the farm, it being the nature of mankind to be extremely addicted to what is hurtful." The King's revenues, says Martyn, are estimated at little more than a million sterling; with this his house­hold is well supported and paid, his troops well cloathed, and always complete.

The King's prerogative, in civil affairs, is equal to that of any monarch in Europe; and, in ecclesiastical matters, few kings, of the Roman Catholic religion, carry it with so high a hand as his present Majesty, and his late ancestors have done. Care indeed has been taken to treat the Pope with all possible com­plaisance; but the King has obtained from him the disposal of most ecclesiastical benefices in Savoy and Piedmont; as also the nomination to a cardinal's hat.

CHAP. VII. Army.

THE situation of the King of Sardinia's domi­nions, on the continent, oblige him to be on his guard, in case of any broils between the House of Austria and Bourbon; but his present Majesty, and his ancestors, have found means to reap some advant­age from all the wars that have happened for above a century past. A war in Italy being very expensive, both to the French and Germans, the house of Savoy has shewn it knows how to value its friendship accord­ingly. The duchy of Savoy lies exposed to the French, and can be taken possession of by them with little, or no resistance. The King of Sardinia cannot think of being a gainer by declaring war against France; the great power of that monarchy, and the mountainous nature of the country, being a bar against his Sardinian Majesty's extending his dominions on that side; be­sides, with the assistance of France, he may face all his enemies. On the other hand, it is not easy to dislodge [Page 65] the house of Austria from any of its possessions by force; therefore the more adviseable way has always been to procure some little advantages by leagues and stipulations. This method has answered so well as, by degrees, to transfer almost the whole country of Mount­serat, and some other neighbouring territories, into the hands of the house of Savoy.

His Majesty's regular forces consist of about twenty two thousand men, exclusive of the horse-guards and artillery; and fifteen well disciplined regiments of militia. These last have only their cloathing, and a sol per day; they are continually at their own ha­bitations, where they subsist by husbandry, and other labour; except twice a year, when they are mustered, and exercised for a few weeks; but, on these occa­sions, they receive the same pay as the regulars. He has sour regiments of foreigners, mostly Germans, which make a body of five thousand men; and not only serve to give a greater weight to his authority in his own country; but also that the Piedmontese, and Savoyard soldiers, having before their eyes a pattern of complete discipline, may be stirred up to emulate them. There is likewise this additional advantage, that so considerable a part of the forces consisting of foreigners, more hands may be spared for tillage. The great advantage of peopling a country in peaceable times, with peasants rather than soldiers, was not un­known [Page 66] to George I. who issued an order in his Ger­man dominions, that every soldier there, who would undertake the management of a farm, or turn peasant, should have his discharge for ten dollars. The King of Sardinia has also lately renewed a law of the re­gent duchess Christina, calculated for increasing the human species. By this law it was enacted, that all parents having twelve children, lawfully begotten, should be exempted, during life, from all taxes. In the number of the twelve children are included, not only those of the first generation, but likewise the grand­children, whose fathers happen to die before their grandfather; as also those who are killed in the king's service. Each of these foreign regiments consists of twelve hundred men; and, by virtue of their particu­lar capitulations, such a regiment brings the colonel in between ten, and twelve thousand dollars a year. In the year 1710, a great number of protestant re­cruits for one of these German regiments coming into Piedmont; several of the common soldiers used to make a practice, upon entering into any new gar­rison where they were not known, of publicly pro­fessing themselves Roman Catholics. The motives were not owing to conscience or devotion; but to the sum of five livres, which was paid to every one who came over to the Romish church; besides what they got from monasteries, and people of substance. Among these recruits was an honest Swabian, of such an open [Page 67] frankness and simplicity, that he went about all Turin, asking, in his own country dialect, where that monas­tery was, that gave five livres to any one turning Catholic.

It contributes not a little to the maintenance of mi­litary discipline and order, that the regiments conti­nually do duty at Turin, as the King's foot-guards. The presence, and attention of his Majesty, causes such care and punctuality to be observed among the troops, as would probably be neglected in any other quarter. The guard is daily relieved by an hundred and twenty men, and consists of twenty-four grena­diers, thirty troopers, and about one hundred and thirty musqueteers.

The pay of the troop of horse-guards is about twen­ty-six thousand livres a year. The private men, who are mostly noblemen, have each five-and-twenty livres a month. Their uniform is provided by the King. As the king travels very expeditiously, they are often hard put to it. It is a long hour's journey, from Tu­rin to La Veniere, on a round trot; and, to go to Rivoli, it takes up three hours; yet the king runs the former in a quarter, and the latter in three-quarters of an hour. If a horse dies, the officer to whom the horse belonged must provide another.

[Page 68]In the other regiments the appointments are still more slender. Officers, quartered at Turin, have in­deed an opportunity of boarding themselves on very reasonable terms. The king has an exact account of all his officers, observes every one's good and bad qualities, and, from time to time, makes very particu­lar enquiries, not only of one, but of several persons, concerning the behaviour of every one of them. From these informations he prefers them, without any re­gard to rank or seniority. It is also the King's plea­sure that all offices, in his majesty's immediate disposal, be accounted equally honourable. A minister of state once petitioning the King to make his son a lieutenant, or an ensign, comme un petit employ, i. e. as an incon­siderable post; the King answered, Je nay point de pe­tits employs à donner; I have no inconsiderable post to give away. It is owing to this that the sons of many, of the noblest and wealthiest families, are en­signs and lieutenants. Besides, no person can obtain a place at court, without having served in the army.

The transactions of the last wars have served to in­spire the Piedmontese with a martial spirit; and such actions were performed by their troops, as would have done honour to the ancient Romans. Towards the close of the last war, when marshal Catinat invaded Piedmont, it was of the highest importance to the Duke of Savoy, to march in time for putting Turin in a [Page 69] better posture of defence. To this end he dispatched the Count de Santena, then a major, and afterwards a general, with a few hundred men, to an old castle, about three German miles from Turin, which com­mands the road and valley from Susa. As the French army was passing by Santena, he fired at them, with what little artillery he had. Catinat, who was no less surprized than provoked, at this insult, sent to the castle, threatening to hang up the commanding officer; who returned him for answer, that he should never have him alive; and that, till the artillery should be brought before the castle, no surrender was to be expected. Catinat now still more incensed, ordered a battery to be erected, and the castle summoned a second time. Santena answered that a breach must first be made; which being begun, he offered to ca­pitulate. Catinat sent a lieutenant into the castle to settle the articles of capitulation; but, as a prelimi­nary condition, demanded that the soldiers should be made prisoners of war, and the officers hanged. Upon this Santena took the lieutenant into his chamber, shut the door, and conducted him between two barrels of powder, with two lighted matches lying by. Santena, taking one of the lighted matches, got upon one of the powder barrels, and desired the lieutenant to fol­low his example; adding, that since he must die, many more of the French should take a spring into the air, before all the Piedmontese in the castle should [Page 70] lose their lives. The lieutenant so little relished this compliment, that he begged Santena to lay aside this desperate design, promising to do all that lay in his power for obtaining an honourable capitulation. Upon this assurance the commandant dismissed the lieutenant; who having made his report to Catinat, the marshal said, I must see this man of such extraordi­nary spirit and resolution; and allowed that he and his men should march out with their swords. As San­tena passed by him, the marshal said, that he did in­deed deserve well to be hanged; but, to shew him he could esteem courage and bravery in an enemy, he should dine with him that day. At table some of the officers upbraided Santena, on account of the Duke of Savoy's forming a league, with heretics, against the Most Christian King. Santena remained silent for some time; till, at last, he asked the marshal if he would allow him freedom of speech; Catinat consent­ing, he replied, "That his master had indeed, for self-defence, taken arms against the King of France, and had entered into an alliance with heretics, such as the English and Dutch; nay, further, that his master was for doing something worse, and had sent to Constan­tinople to negociate a league with the Turks; but that his Most Christian Majesty had been before hand with him." Catenat laughed at the officers, who had forced this keen repartee from Santena, saying this might teach them never to insult brave men under misfor­tunes. [Page 71] However, Santena had the good fortune to ob­tain, for his master, a suspension of arms for some days.

The Piedmontese have likewise signalized them­selves for their valour in foreign service; of which, among others, the late general St. Amour is an in­stance. When he was made colonel of a regiment, the officers, who valued themselves upon their birth, were so extremely piqued against him, he being but a pea­sant's son, that he was challenged by four of his cap­tains successively, whom he killed upon the spot; and, upon dispatching the last, said, "There are now but eight left;" but the others thought fit to let the affair drop. It was not his valour only which entitled that gentleman to the highest esteem; but also his prudence and discretion, in never forgetting the meanness of his extraction. Once, while he was at table in Piedmont, with the chief officers and generals, whom he had in­vited to an entertainment, his father happened to come into the house, and sent up word of his arrival. St. Amour informed his guests of it, adding, that he was not insensible of the regard due to them, but begged leave that he might dine with his father in the next room. He accordingly withdrew, though the com­pany was very urgent with him, that his father might sit down at their table; and thus acted up to the cha­racter of the dutiful son, and the polite gentleman.

[Page 72]Among the fortifications of most note, in this coun­try, is Fort Brunette; which stands on the road be­tween Susa and Novalese, and, perhaps, has not its equal in the whole world. It consists of eight bas­tions; and, together with all its out-works, was hewn out of a rock. The bastions, and other works, have a communication by subterraneous passages, under rocks; which are so large that carriages, and heavy cannon, with several horses, may very conveniently go from one place to another. Of the whole fortress, not a single building is to be seen; and, of the garri­son, only some centinels. Cannons and mines are of no signification here; and 2000 men, well supplied with stores and provisions, would easily weary out a numerous army. It commands two vallies. This fortress, though esteemed impregnable by the Pied­montese, Monsieur Richard, in his tour through Italy, says, he thinks it to be commanded by two mountains; but, however, he makes a shrewd restection, and very a-propos, "That it would be difficult to bring up, and plant a battery of cannon on these mountains;" which no doubt it is impossible to do.

CHAP. IX. Laws.

AMONG some excellent laws and ordinances made by the late king of Sardinia, is his care for the security of the roads; by these means one may now travel in Italy, with as much safety as in any other country. Banditti are those malefactors who have been banished or have incurred some other pe­nalty, but have not yet fallen into the hands of justice, or else escaped from it: as these persons often lurk about on the frontiers, where they support them­selves by rapine and violence; they who infest the roads, or assassins who hire themselves out to com­mit murder, likewise, go under the name of ban­ditti. Italy was formerly over-run by these vermin; but the Duke de Caspi, viceroy of Naples, demon­strating that they were easily to be reduced by reso­lution and severity; all the other states, and parti­cularly the house of Savoy, determined to pursue the plan.

[Page 74]In order to create a mutual distrust and division among the banditti, any one of these miscreants delivering up another to the magistrates, convicted of a like crime with himself, or of a greater, re­ceived a full and free pardon. Of such banditti as were guilty of very extraordinary and flagrant crimes, an exact list was every year put up in all the public places, signifying, that any one might kill them with impunity. Whoever delivered such a one alive was entituled to an exemption from punishment, whatever sentence had been passed upon him; or, if that was not his case, he might transfer the benefit, and obtain pardon for another, except in cases of high treason. If the banditti was delivered up dead, the privilege of pardon extended to the per­son that delivered up the criminal, and to his nearest relations. Any one bringing a banditti to justice, who either will not or cannot take the benefit of the pardon, receives in lieu thereof a certain sum of money, out of the king's treasury. At first the ex­tirpation of the banditti was a difficult work, the principal nobility making use of these bravoes as assassins for their private revenge, and affording them all possible protection. Two noblemen in particular sheltered two banditti, who had between them assassinated 48 persons, and even one of them was so abandoned, that afterwards he murdered a father and his two sons. At that very time Alexan­dria, [Page 75] with the adjacent country, being ceded to the king of Sardinia, the third son of that unhappy fa­ther, laid his case before his new sovereign. The king, who was determined to make an example where it was so highly necessary, sent for the two noblemen to court, under some alluring pretences, and upon their arrival ordered them to be taken into custody. It was then signified to them, that if they did not produce those villains, or give intelli­gence how they might be secured, their heads should answer for it. This menace forced them to com­ply, and one of these murderers being surprized, was put to the torture, and executed in the town where he was born. The neighbourhood, and the town itself, swarmed with secret banditti, so that the king was obliged to send two regiments to at­tend the execution; and in the morning proclama­tion was made, that if any of the inhabitants should be found out of their respective dwellings before the execution was over, they should be immediately hanged up. The other made his escape to Genoa, and being a very enterprising fellow was not easily to be caught; but, as no farther mischief could be ap­prehended from him, he obtained his pardon under certain restrictions and limitations, and now lives, says Keysler, quietly at Alexandria.

[Page 76]There is another commendable regulation, that from the inferior judge, an appeal lies to the presi­dent of the province, and from him, within ten days after notice of the sentence, to the senate at Turin. No magistrates or judges are to take any presents except provisions, and of them only a sufficient quantity for three days. Every malefactor that is taken up, is to be examined within 24 hours after he is in custody, under the penalty of ten ecûs dór, payable by the judge. The answer, and the protocal, after being distinctly and audibly read over to the plaintiff, must be signed by him; or if he cannot write, he is to set his mark to it before witnesses. Any one knowingly altering bad money, although not at all concerned with the coiners of it, is con­demned for ten years to the gallies. A person guilty of theft for the first offence, if it be no bur­glary, nor exceeding in value two golden crowns, is condemned to draw in a cart like a horse; but if it exceed that sum, he is punished with a public whip­ping. For the second fault, whatever the sum be, the delinquent is branded in the arm, and con­demned for five years at least to the gallies, and sometimes longer, according to the circumstances of the fact. A third fault condemns a man to the gal­lies for life; but a thief is not punished with death, till he be found guilty a fourth time. A house-breaker for the first fact, if it be under 25 gold [Page 77] crowns, is condemned to the gallies during life, and upon a repetition of the same offence is punished with death; a servant stealing, to the value of 25 gold crowns, is put to death for the first offence. A notary making a false instrument, or forging a title to an estate forfeits his life. No person is to carry fire-arms of any sort, not even upon a journey, un­der the penalty of losing them and a fine of 50 gold crowns, which if they cannot pay, they are con­demned for two years to the gallies. This order does not extend to the officers of the king's house­hold, nor to foreign travellers; yet these, if they are not noblemen or gentlemen, must part with them during their stay in any town. Some arms are abso­lutely prohibited, such as short pocket-pistols, poig­nards, Genoese two-edged pointed knives, daggers, concealed in canes, &c. Any person having these arms only in his house, is condemned to the gallies for five years, and he on whom they are found, for double that term. By this wise regulation the safety of travellers is provided for, and tumults and other disorders generally prevented.

The laws here are particularly severe against the Jews, death being the punishment for the least con­tumelious language against the Virgin Mary, or any of the saints; as also for expressing any contempt of their images. Both sexes among them entering their [Page 78] 15th year, are to wear on their right breast, by way of an ignominious distinction, a yellow badge of nine inches long, made of silk or wool. In the pas­sion-week from Wednesday to Saturday, the Jews must not ring a bell nor stir out of their houses; their doors and windows also are to be kept shut under penalty of three days imprisonment, and sub­sisting on bread and water during that time; but if any Jew sings or plays on a musical instrument on those days in the passion-week, they are to be pub­licly whipped.

The language of the Piedmontese is a mixture of French and Italian; many of the words are entirely French, but pronounced in the same manner that they are written, as for example lait milk is pro­nounced as it would be in English, so is fait, and many other words.

CHAP. X. The Island and Kingdom of Sardinia.

LIES in the Mediterranean, and is divided from the island of Corsica by the straits of Bonifacio. From north to south it is 160 English miles; and from west to cast 80. The soil is fertile in oil and wine, and there are a great number of oranges, ci­trons and olives; but it is not properly cultivated, the inhabitants being little inclined to tillage, and preferring to live upon the spontaneous productions of the earth, rather than improve it by husbandry. They are so far from experiencing any scarcity of corn, notwithstanding so much of the country is uncultivated, that some years, it is said, they export to the amount of 8 or 900,000 bushels, which is sent for the most part into Spain. They have also great quantities of cattle as well as game; beeves and sheep, in particular, are numerous, as well as horses, which are very good for labour, and for the road. They are fed in the little islands about it, [Page 80] which are likewise abounding in game. On the coast is a fishery for anchovies and coral, of which they send large quantities to Genoa and Leghorn. They have also great quantities of that celebrated Epicurean fish-turtle.

The high mountains on the north side render the air very unhealthy, by obstructing the wind from sweeping through the whole island. It is to be at­tributed, perhaps, to this circumstance that the island is full of morasses. These mountains contain mines of silver, lead, sulphur, and alum, and they make a good deal of salt. The inhabitants were formerly so rude and clownish, that the Romans banished their state-prisoners to this island. It is divided into two parts; the northern called Cape Logadori, from a cape of that name in the north; and the southern Cape Cagliari, from the capital city, which stands in this part of the island.

Cagliari is situated on the declivity of a hill, near the bay, to which it gives name on the south-east part of the island, and is a large handsome and po­pulous city, with a tolerable harbour, and very brisk trade. It has also a university, is the see of an archbishop, and the seat of the viceroy. This city was taken by the English in 1708, who trans­ferred it to the Emperor Charles VI. but it was re­taken [Page 81] by the Spaniards in 1717, and about two years after ceded to the duke of Savoy in lieu of Si­cily, and hence he has the title of King of Sar­dinia.

Saffari is another large town on the north-west part of the island, situated in a place about ten miles from the sea. It has a castle, and an archbishop's see, and contains about 30,000 inhabitants. It is likewise famous for a fountain called Rossel, which is said to be much more magnificent than any in Rome. The inhabitants have the following pro­verb, chi non vide Rossel, non vide mondo, 'he that has not seen Rossel, has not seen the world.'

This kingdom is of more importance to the house of Savoy as a monarchy, than on account of its re­venues; for the charges of the army and civil officers being deducted, the remainder, does not bring in above 4 or 5000 a year. It is governed by a vice­roy. Bisani mentions, that having cast anchor in one of the bays of this island, the inhabitants assembled and fired upon the vessel, and it was with great difficulty he and his companions were permitted to make a landing. He bears witness to the unhealthiness of the island, which is noticed so far back as by Pausanias, who attributes the bad air in this island to the salt-pits, and the violence of the south wind, which is continually raging on [Page 82] these coasts. The peasants, from his description of their dress and manners, appear little better than savages. They let their beard grow, says he, wear a red cap, and are dressed in a doublet of black felt, covered with a kind of cuirass made of deers skin, which they lace before, and reaches to their knees. Their breeches and boots are of the same kind, and a girdle goes round their waiste, with a long sti­letto hanging to it. Their manner of living is free and uncontrouled. They follow no occupation, but live upon milk and game. They are continually at variance with each other, and their quarrels gene­rally terminate in a tragic manner. Murderers are secure by going a few villages off, and uniting them­selves with some banditti till they can obtain a par­don from the friends of the deceased. These people pay so little regard to the king's edicts, that they frequently commence hostilities against the military, and massacre the officers, who in revenge, cut them to pieces where they can get at them, seize upon their cattle, and burn their habitations. In the cities, however, the inhabitants are less fero­cious; they cultivate the lands and are very civil to strangers. On the sea-coast, adds the above au­thor, near Orestan, are the ruins of an ancient town, among which a soldier had found a Carthaginian medal that he presented to us.

[Page 83]The first colonies were planted here by the Phoe­nicians, who erected little states and principalities in the island, as they had before done in Italy and Sicily. The Carthaginians then brought the whole island under their subjection, of which they were afterwards dispersed by the Romans.

CHAP. XI. Duchy of Montferat.

THE duchy of Montferat bounded to the west and north by Piedmont; to the east by Milan, and to the south by the republic of Genoa, is a country abounding in every thing, particularly in corn and excellent Muscadine wine. It contains about 200 cities, towns, and villages. In 1631, 75 places of this duchy were first transferred to the duke of Sa­voy, in lieu of a yearly income of 15,000 crowns, payable to him by the duke of Mantua. In 1703 the emperor gave also to the duke that part of Montferat, which the dukes of Mantua had held as a fief from the emperor, to be held by him pur­suant to the same tenure. The most remarkable [Page 84] place in the duchy is Verua, a town once fortified, which stands over the river Po, on a steep rock. It was several times besieged and taken, but in 1705 the French, irritated by the long defence it main­tained against them, blew up its fortifications.

CHAP. XII. Piedmontese Vallies.

LES valleés de Piemont, the Piedmontese Vallies, called also the Vallies Angrogne, and some­times simply the Vallies, lie westward, contiguous to the French province of Dauphiné. The valley of Lucerne is 15 miles in length, but of unequal breadth. This valley forms a vast cavity between the highest mountains, to which there is no access but with the greatest difficulty. It can conve­niently hold a great number of men, and here it was, that in the severest persecutions of the chris­tian church, the old Barte or valley preachers, be­fore the reformation, used to preach without ob­struction, [Page 85] and qualify youth for the sacred ministry. In the southern parts are only chesnut plantations and pastures; but on the hills towards the north, grow wine, corn, herbs, and plants. The finest corn is produced amid ranges of vine-espaliers.

The valley of St. Martin is about the same ex­tent. This is the strongest fortified of any, for be­sides the prodigious mountains, at least eight or ten months of the year, covered with snow, and conse­quently not to be passed, it is accessible only by a very narrow cavity, called the Tower-bridge, cut through a rock, and no broader than the rapid river, or rather brook, running through it; over which is a lofty bridge, which on being broke down, it is impossible to enter the valley.

In these vallies, especially that of St. Martin, among the highest of the mountains and impassable rocks, are large woods and thickets, abounding in white hares, which retain that colour all the year round; besides foxes, large pheasants, and brown and white partridges. These thickets are also re­markable for being the haunts of wolves and bears. On the highest parts of the Alps, and in open places, when only a little herbage grows, are found the Marmottes, a creature something larger than a rabbet, and in colour of a mixed brown and red. [Page 86] The flesh, which is eaten, has much the taste of pork. The animal has a very shrill cry, and passes eight or nine months of the year, that is, whilst these mountains are covered with snow, in a pro­found sleep. Besides the chamois, here is also an animal very like a goat or chamois. Its constant abode is in the mountains, which, on account of their height, are ever covered with snow. It gene­rally sleeps on the ice, is much fleeter than the cha­mois, and the flesh, by the inhabitants, is reckoned very strengthening. When any person is benumbed with cold, or deprived of the use of a limb by the frost, some drops of this creature's blood are admi­nistered in warm wine or broth; which, upon the patient's being put to bed, throws him into a great sweat, after which he recovers. Among the tame beasts is the tumar, engendered either by a bull and a mare, or by a bull and a she-ass: the latter species is considerably smaller, and called Bif; the former, called Bas, has the upper mandible shorter than the lower, and both almost resembling those of swine. The head and tail are like those of an ox, but the former instead of horns, has only small knobs; in all other respects they are shaped either like an horse or ass. Though not so large as a mule, they are of surprising strength, eat little, are very swift-footed, and excellent beasts for travelling. Some rare plants reputed restoratives, and of very corroborat­ing [Page 87] qualities, such as the Lunaria are found in these mountains; they yield also, a kind of thistles, not unlike artichoaks, which are eaten, and reck­oned exceeding good against any contagious dis­order.

These vallies have always belonged to Piedmont. The Waldenses, their inhabitants, to whom they have given name, have rendered themselves famous in history, from the persecutions they underwent on account of their religion. The number of people in these vallies, scarce exceeds 7000. They have distinguished themselves very much in all the wars, in which their sovereign has been engaged during this century; being from their childhood trained up to military exercises.

CHAP. XIII. Climate, Productions, &c. of Nice.

Nice so much celebrated in this country for the salubrity of its air, extends about 80 miles in length, but in some places not more than 30 in breadth. It contains several small towns and villages, all of which (the capital excepted) are situated among mountains; the most extensive plain in the whole country being in the neighbourhood of the town of Nice. The length of it does not exceed two miles, nor is the breadth in any part above one. It is bounded by the Mediterranean on the south. From the sea-shore, the maritime Alps begin with hills of a gentle ascent, rising into mountains that form a sweep or amphitheatre, ending at Montalban, which overhangs the town of Villa-Franca, divided from Nice by a single mountain, on the top of which there is a small sort, called the Castle of Montalban. On the west side of this mountain, and in the east­ern extremity of the amphitheatre, stands the city [Page 89] of Nice, wedged in between a steep rock and the little river Paglion, which descends from the moun­tains, and washing the town-wall on the west side, falls into the sea after having filled some canals for the use of the inhabitants. The channel of it is very broad, but generally dry in many places; the water (as in the Var, which falls into the sea nearer Antibes) dividing itself into several small streams. The Paglion, being fed by melted snow and rains in the mountains, is quite dry in summer; but it is sometimes swelled by sudden rains to a very formid­able torrent. This was the case in the year 1744, when the French and Spanish armies attacked 18 Piedmontese battalions, which were posted on the side of Montalban. The assailants were repulsed with the loss of four thousand men, some hundreds of whom perished in repassing the Paglion, which had swelled to a surprising degree during the battle, in consequence of a heavy continued rain. This rain was of great service to the Piedmontese, as it prevented one half of the enemy from passing the river to sustain the other.

The city of Nice is built in the form of an irre­gular isosceles triangle, the base of which fronts the sea. It is altogether indefencible, and therefore without fortifications; in the east it is over-hung by a rock, on which we see the ruins of an old castle, [Page 90] which, before the invention of artillery, was deemed impregnable. It was taken and dismantled by Ma­reschal Catinat, in the time of Victor Amadaeus, the father of his Sardinian majesty. It was afterwards finally demolished by the duke of Berwick, towards the latter end of queen Ann's war. To repair this castle would be an unnecessary expence, as it is com­manded by Montalban and several other eminences.

This little town, situated in the bay of Antibes, is almost equidistant from Marseilles, Turin, and Genoa; the first and last being about 30 leagues from hence by sea, and the capital of Piedmont at the same distance to the northward over the moun­tains. It contains, though hardly a mile in circum­ference, 12,000 inhabitants. The streets are nar­row; the houses are built with stone, and the win­dows, in general, are fitted with paper instead of glass. This expedient would not answer in a coun­try subject to rain and storms, but here where there is very little of either, the paper lozenges answer tolerably well. The Bourgeois, however, begin to have their houses sashed with glass. From a regis­ter of the weather, kept during a residence of 18 months in this city, says Smollett, there is less rain and wind than in any other part of the world that I know; and, such is the serenity of the air, that nothing is to be seen over head for several months [Page 91] together, but a charming blue expanse, without cloud or speck. Whatever clouds may be formed by evaporation from the sea, they seldom or never hover over this small territory; but, in all probabi­lity, are attracted by the mountains that surround it, and there fall in rain or snow; as for those that gather from other quarters, I suppose their progress hitherward is obstructed by those very Alps which rise one over another, to an extent of many leagues. This air being dry, pure, heavy, and elastic, must be agreeable to the constitution of those who labour under disorders arising from weak nerves, obstructed perspiration, relaxed fibres, a vicidity of lymph, and a languid circulation. The air of Nice is so dry, that in summer, and even in winter (except in wet weather) the evening, and indeed the whole night may be passed sub dio, without feeling the least dew or moisture; and as for fogs, they are never seen in this district. In summer, the air is cooled by a regular sea-breeze blowing from the east, like that of the West Indies. It begins in the forenoon, and increases with the heat of the day. It dies away about six or seven, and is immediately succeeded by an agreeable land-breeze from the mountains. The sea-breeze from the eastward, however, is not so constant here, as in the West In­dies between the tropics, because the sun, which produces it, is not so powerful. This country lies [Page 92] nearer the region of variable winds, and is sur­rounded by mountains, capes, and straits, which often influence the constitution and current of air. About the winter solstice, the people of Nice expect wind and rain, which generally lasts, with intervals, till the beginning of February: but, even during this their worst weather, the sun breaks out occasion­ally, so as to enable any one to take the air every day, either on foot or horseback, the moisture being immediately absorbed by the earth, which is natu­rally dry. The heavy rains in this country gene­rally come with a south-west wind, which was the creberque procellis Africus of the ancients. It is here called Lebeche, a corruption of Lybicus; it ge­nerally blows high for a day or two, and rolls the Mediterranean before it in huge waves, that often enter the town of Nice. It likewise drives before it all the clouds which had been found above the sur­face of the Mediterranean. These being expended in rain, fair-weather naturally ensues. There are frequent instances of English valetudinarians, who have passed the winter at Aix on the supposition, that there was little or no difference between the air and the climate of Nice; but this is a very great mistake, which may be attended with very fatal consequences. Aix is altogether exposed to the north and northwest winds, which blow as cold in Provence as on the mountains of Scotland: whereas, [Page 93] Nice is entirely screened from these winds by the maritime Alps, which form an amphitheatre to the land side around this little territory. Another in­contestible proof of the mildness of this climate is deduced from the oranges, lemons, citrons, roses, narcissuses, July-flowers, and jonquils, which ripen and blow in the middle of winter. Presents of car­nations are sent from hence, at that season of the year to Turin and Paris; nay, sometimes as far as London, by the post. They are packed up in a wooden box, without any sort of preparation, one pressed upon another: the person who receives them cuts off a little bit of the stalk, and steeps them for two hours in vinegar and water, when they recover their full bloom and beauty. They are then placed in water bottles, in an apartment screened from the severities of the weather, and continue there fresh and unfaded for near a month.

Smollett, describing the cultivation of the country round Nice, says, When standing on the rampart and looking round me, I can scarce help thinking myself enchanted. The small extent of country, which I see, is all cultivated like a garden. Indeed, the plain pre­sents nothing but gardens full of green trees, loaded with oranges, lemons, citrons, and bergamots, which make a delightful appearance. If examined more narrowly, there will be seen plantations of [Page 94] green peas, ready to be gathered; all sorts of sallet­ing, and pot-herbs in perfection; plats of roses, car­nations, ranunculuses, anemonies, and daffodils, blowing in full glory, with such beauty, vigour, and perfume, as no flower in England ever exhibited.

Amidst the plantations in this neighbourhood ap­pear a vast number of bastides or country houses, which make a dazzling show. They are all built square; and, being whitened with lime or plaister, contribute greatly to the richness of the view. The hills are shaded to the tops with olive-trees, which are always green; and those hills are over-topped with more distant mountains covered with snow.

Nothing can be more unpromising, however, than the natural soil of this territory, except in a very few narrow bottoms, where there is a stiff clay, which, when carefully watered, yields tolerable pas­turage. In every other part the soil consists of a light sand, mingled with pebbles, which serves well enough for the culture of vines and olives; but the ground laid out for kitchen herbs, as well as for other fruits, must be manured with care and atten­tion. They have no black cattle to afford such compost as is used in England. The dung of mules and asses, their only beasts of burthen, is of very little value for this purpose, and the natural [Page 95] sterility of their ground requires something highly impregnated with nitre and vegetable salts. They are obliged, therefore, to have recourse to pigeons dung and ordure. Every peasant opens, at one corner of his wall, a public-house of office for the reception of passengers; and, in the town of Nice, every te­nement is provided with one of these receptacles, the contents of which are carefully preserved for sale. The peasant comes with his asses and casks to carry it off before day, and pays for it according to its quality. The jakes of a protestant family, who eat gras every day, bear a much higher price than the privy of a good catholic, who lives maigre one half of the year. The vaults belonging to the con­vent of Minims, are not worth emptying.

The ground here is not delved with spades, as in England, but laboured with a broad sharp hough, with a horizontal handle; and the climate is so hot and dry in the summer, that the plants must be wa­tered every morning and evening, especially where it is not shaded by trees. It is surprising to see in what manner the productions of the earth are crouded together. Olive and other fruit-trees are planted in rows very close to each other. These are connected by vines, and the interstice between the roots are filled with corn. The gardens, that supply the town with sallad and pot-herbs, lie all on [Page 96] the side of Provence by the highway. They are surrounded with high stone-walls, or ditches planted with a kind of cane or large reed, which answers many purposes in this country. The leaves of it afford sustenance to the asses, and the canes not only serve as fences to the inclosures; but are used to prop the vines and peas: they are further formed into arbours, and wore as walking sticks. All these gardens are watered by little rills that come from the mountains, particularly by the small branches of the two sources of the Var and the Paglion.

In the neighbourhood of Nice they raise a con­siderable quantity of hemp, which is remarkably large and strong. Part of this, when dressed, is exported to other countries, and part is manufac­tured into cordage. However profitable it may be to the grower, it is certainly a great nuisance in the summer. When taken, out of the pits, where it has been put to rot, the stench it raises is insup­portable, and must undoubtedly be prejudicial to the constitution.

There is such a want of land in this neighbour­hood that terraces are built over one another with loose stones, on the faces of bare rocks, and these [Page 97] being covered with earth and manured, are planted with olives, vines, and corn.

Notwithstanding the small extent of this terri­tory, there are some pleasant meadows in the skirts of Nice, that produce excellent clover; and the corn, which is sown in the open fields, grows to a surprising height. Rye may be seen here seven or eight feet high. All vegetables have a wonderful growth in this climate. Besides wheat, rye, barley, and oats, this country produces a good deal of In­dian corn. The meal of this grain goes by the name of polenta, and make excellent hasty pudding, being very nourishing, and counted an admirable pectoral. The pods and stalks are used for fuel; and the leaves are much preferable to common straw, for making paillasses. Myrtle, sweet-briar, sweet-marjoram, sage, thyme, lavender, rosemary, with many other aromatic herbs and flowers, which, with us, require the most careful cultivation, are here found wild in the mountains.

The markets at Nice are well supplied. In au­tumn and winter, the seasons for game, hares, par­tridges, quails, wild pigeons, woodcocks, snipes, thrushes, beccaficas, and ortolans, are met with in great plenty. The wild boar is sometimes found in the mountains: it has a delicious taste, not unlike that [Page 98] of the wild hog, in Jamaica, when meagre the head only is presented at tables. Pheasants are very scarce. As for the heath game, says Smollett, I never saw but one cock, which my servant bought in the market, and brought home; but the com­mandants cook came into my kitchen, and carried it off, after it was half plucked, saying his master had company to dinner. The hares are large, plump, and juicy; the partridges generally of the red sort, large as pullets, and of a good flavour; there are also some grey partridges in the moun­tains, and another sort of a white colour, that weigh four or five pounds each. Beccaficas are smaller than sparrows, and generally eaten half raw. The ortolans are kept in cages, and crammed till they die of fat, and then eaten as dainties. The thrush is presented with the trail, because the bird seeds on olives. They may as well eat the trail of a sheep, because it feeds on the aromatic herbs of the mountains.

Nice is not without a variety of fish. Here are sometimes mullets both red and grey. One of the best fish in this country is called le loup, about two or three pounds in weight, white, firm, and well flavoured. Another no way inferior to it is the moustel, by some thought to be the mustela of the ancients or sea lam­prey. There is also abundance of the $oepie or cut­tle-fish, [Page 99] of which the people in this country make a delicate ragout; as also of the polype de mer, which is an ugly animal, with long feelers, like tails, which they often wind about the legs of the fishermen. They are stewed with onions, and eat something like cow-heel.

Among the fish of this country there is a very ugly animal, of the eel species, which might pass for a serpent. The Italians call it murena, but whe­ther it is the fish which had the same name among the ancient Romans is not so easy to determine. The ancient murena were counted a great delicacy, and kept in ponds for extraordinary occasions. Ju­lius Caesar borrowed 6000 for one entertainment. The sword-fish is also much esteemed at Nice, and called l'Empereur, about six or seven feet long; it is as white as the finest veal, and extremely delicate. They are very scarce, and when taken are generally concealed, because the head belongs to the Com­mandant, who has likewise the privilege of buying the best fish at a very low price; for which reason the choice pieces are concealed by the fishermen, and sent privately to Piedmont or Genoa. Sea turtle are also often found at sea, by the mariners, in these latitudes, but they are not the green sort, so much in request among the City Aldermen. All the Mediterranean turtle are of the kind called logger-head, [Page 100] which in the West Indies are eaten by none but hungry seamen, negroes, and the lowest class of people. One of these, weighing about 200lb. says Smollett, was brought on shore by the fishermen of Nice, who found it floating, asleep, on the surface of the sea. The whole town was alarmed at the fight of such a monster, the nature of which they could not comprehend. However, the Monks called Minims, of St. Francis's order, guided by an unerring instinct, marked it as their prey, and sur­rounded it accordingly. The Friars of other con­vents, not quite so hungry as those of the order of St. Francis, crowding down to the beach, declared it should not be eaten, dropped hints of a possibility it might be something preternatural and diabolical, and even proposed exorcisms and emersions with holy water. The populace were divided, accord­ing to their attachment to this or that convent; a mighty clamour arose; and the Police, to remove the cause of their contention, ordered the tortoise to be re-committed to the waves; a sentence which the Francisians saw executed, not without sighs and lamentations.

But the chief fisheries of this coast are of the sar­dines, anchovies and tunnies. These are taken in small quantities all the year, but spring and summer are the seasons when they mostly abound. In June and [Page 101] July a fleet of about 50 fishing-boats put to sea, every evening, about eight o'clock, and catch an­chovies in immense quantities. One small boat sometimes takes in one night 600 weight. Ancho­vies, beside their making a considerable article in the commerce of Nice, are a great resource in all families. The noblesse and bourgeois sup on sal­lad and anchovies, which are eaten on all their meagre days. The fishermen and mariners, all along this coast, have scarce any other food but dry bread, with a few pickled anchovies; and, when the fish is eaten, they rub their crusts with the brine. No­thing can be more delicate than fresh anchovies fried in oil. It is needless to mention that the sar­dines and anchovies are caught in nets, salted, bar­relled, and exported into all the different kingdoms and states of Europe. The tunny-fish generally runs from 50 to 100 weight, but some of them are much larger. As soon as taken they are gutted, boiled, and cut in slices. The guts and head afford oil; the slices are partly dried, to be eaten occasionally with oil and vinegar, or barrelled up in oil to be export­ed. It is counted a delicacy in Italy and Piedmont, and tastes not unlike sturgeon. The famous pickle of the ancients, called garum, was made of the gills and blood of the tunny or thynnus.

[Page 102]The vintage begins in September. The grapes being chosen and carefully picked, are put into a large vat, where they are pressed by a man's naked feet, and the juices drawn off by a cock below. When no more is procured by this operation, the bruised grapes are put into the press, and yield still more liquor. The juice obtained by this double pressure being put in casks, with their bungs open, begins to ferment, and discharge its impurities at the openings. The waste occasioned by this dis­charge is constantly supplied with fresh wine, so that the casks are always full. The fermentation continues for 12, 15, or 20 days, according to the strength and vigour of the grape. In about a month the wine is sit for drinking. When the grapes are of a bad, meagre kind, the wine-dealers mix the juice with pigeon's dung, or quick lime, in order to give it a spirit which nature hath denied.

The process for making oil is equally simple. The best olives are those that grow wild, but the quantity of them is very inconsiderable. Olives begin to ripen and drop in the beginning of No­vember, but some remain on the trees till February, and even till April, and these are counted the most va­luable. When the olives are gathered, they must be manufactured immediately, before they fade and grow wrinkled, otherwise they will produce bad oil.— [Page 103] They are first of all ground into a paste, by a mill stone, set edge-ways in a circular stone trough, and turned by water. This paste is put into circular cases, made of grass woven, having a round hole at top and bottom; when filled, they resemble in shape our Cheshire cheeses. A number of these, placed one upon another, are put in a press, and being squeezed, the oil, with all its impurities, runs into a receptacle below, fixed in the ground; from hence it is ladled into a wooden vat, half filled with water. The sordes or dirt falls to the bottom. The oil swims on top, and, being skimmed off, is bar­relled in small oblong casks. What remains in the vat is thrown into a large stone cistern with water, and, after being often stirred, and standing 12 or 14 days, yields a coarse oil, used for lamps and ma­nufactures. The very finest, called virgin-oil, is made chiefly of green olives, and sold at a very high price, because a great quantity is required to pro­duce a very little oil.

CHAP. XIV. People, Character, Customs, &c.

NICE abounds with noblesse. Of these, three or four families are really respectable, the rest are novi homines, sprung from bourgeoise, who have saved a little money by their occupations, and raised themselves to the rank of noblesse by purchase. A man may buy a Marquisate in this country, as in Piedmont, for 3 or 400l. but letters of noblesse are purchased for 30 or 40 guineas. In Savoy, says Smollett, there are 600 families of nobility, the greater part of which have not above 100 crowns a year to support their dignity. In the mountains of Piedmont, and even in this county of Nice, there are representatives of very ancient and noble fa­milies reduced to the condition of common pea­sants; but they still retain the ancient pride of their houses, and boast of the noble blood that runs in their veins. A gentleman travelling through the mountains, was obliged to pass the night in a cot­tage [Page 105] of one of these rusticated nobles, who called to his son in the evening 'Chevalier, as tu donné a manger aux cochons?' This, however, is not the case with the noblesse of Nice. Two or three of them have about 4 or 500 a year, the rest may have about 100 pistoles, arising from the silk, oil, wine, and oranges, produced in their small plantations. Some few of these are well built, commodious, and agreeably situated. There is a public conversazione every evening at the Commandant's house. In car­nival time there is also a ball twice or thrice a week. At this assembly every person may dance without distinction in masquerades, but after dancing they are obliged to unmask, and, if burgeois, to retire. No individual can give a ball without permission of the Commandant, and then his house is open to all masques, without distinction.

The poverty of the people of this country, as well as of the South of France, may be conjectured from the appearance of their domestic animals. The draught horses, mules, and asses of the peasants are so meagre as to excite compassion. There is not a dog to be seen in tolerable case; and the cats are so many emblems of famine, frightfully thin and dangerously rapacious. This great poverty of the people, says Smollett, is owing to their religion. Half of their time is lost in observing the great [Page 106] number of festivals, and half of their substance given to mendicant friars. But if the church oc­casions their indigence, it likewise, in some measure, alleviates the horrors of it, by amusing them with shows, processions, and even those very feasts which afford a recess from labour, in a country where the climate invites them to idleness. If the peasants in the neighbourhood of any chaple, dedicated to a saint, have a mind to make a holiday, in other words, a fair; they apply to the Commandant of Nice for a licence which costs them a crown. This being obtained, they assemble after service, men and women, in their best apparel, and dance to the music of fiddles, and drums. There are hucksters stands, with pedlary ware, and knick-knacks for presents, cakes and bread, liqueurs and wine; and thither generally resort all the company of Nice.

In speaking of their religious institutions we can­not help observing, that the ancient Romans were still more superstitious than the modern Italians, and that the number of their religious feasts, fasts, and holidays, were even greater than those of the Christian church at Rome. The vast variety of their deities, said to amount to 30,000, with their re­spective rights of adoration, could not fail to intro­duce such a number of ceremonies, shews, sacri­fices, lustrations, and public processions, as must [Page 107] have employed the people almost constantly from one end of the year to the other. This continual dissipation must have been a great enemy to in­dustry; and the people must therefore consequently have been idle and effeminate. It perhaps would be no difficult matter to prove that there is very little difference, in point of character, between the ancient and modern inhabitants of Rome, and that the great figure, which this empire formerly made, was not so much owing to the intrinsic virtue of its citizens, as to the barbarism, ignorance, and im­becility of the nations they subdued; and if the most fortunate generals of the Roman common­wealth were again placed at the head of the armies they once commanded, instead of extending their conquests over all Europe and Asia, I am of opi­nion, says Smollett, they would hardly be able to subdue and retain, under their dominion, all the petty republics that subsist in Italy.

How they live in their families, says Smollett, I do not chuse to enquire, but in public, Madame ap­pears in her robe of gold, or silver stuff, with her powder and frisure, her perfumes, her paint, and her patches; while Monsieur le Comte struts about in his lace and embroidery. Rouge and fard are more peculiarly necessary in this country, where the complexion and skin are swarthy and yellow. Most [Page 108] of the females are likewise pot-bellied; a circum­stance owing perhaps to the great quantity of vegetable trash they eat. All the horses, mules, asses, and cattle, which feed upon grass have the same distention. This kind of food produces such acid juices in the stomach, as excite a perpetual sense of hunger. I have been often amazed at the voracious appetites of these people. But it must not be expected, says Smollett, that I should describe the tables and hos­pitality of the Nissard gentry. The Consul, who is a very honest man, told me he had lived 34 years in the country, without having once eat or drank in any of their houses.

The greatest fault I find with the fruits of this climate, which, with vegetables and fish, constitute the principal food of the inhabitants, is that they are two sweet and luscious, and want that agreeable acid so cooling and refreshing in a hot country. Nature, however, has not neglected to provide some agreeable vegetable juices to cool the human body. During the whole summer, there is plenty of musk melons. I can buy one, as large as my head, says Smollett, for the value of an English penny; but one of the best and largest, weighing about 10 or 12 pounds, costs about eight-pence. From An­tibes and Sardinia, is brought another kind, called, water-melons, well known in Jamaica, and some of [Page 109] our other colonies. Those from Antibes, are about the size of an ordinary bomb-shell; but the Sar­dinian and Jamaica water-melons are four times as large. The skin is green, smooth, and thin. The inside is a purple pulp, studded with broad, flat, black seeds, and impregnated with a juice the most cool, delicate, and refreshing, that well can be conceived. One would imagine the pulp itself dissolved in the stomach; for a person may eat of it, until he is filled up to the tongue, without feeling the least inconvenience. It is so friendly to the constitution, that in ardent fevers it is drank as the best emulsion. At Genoa, Florence, and Rome, it is sold in the streets, ready cut in slices; and the porters, sweating under their burthens, buy and eat them as they pass. A London porter quenches his thirst with a draught of strong beer: a porter of Rome or Naples, refreshes himself with a slice of water-melon, or a glass of iced water. The one costs two-pence, and the other half a far­thing; which ever of them is most effectual, the men are equally pleased. It is commonly remarked, that beer strengthens as well as refreshes. But the porters of Constantinople, who never drink any thing stronger than water, and eat very little animal food, will lift and carry heavier burdens, than any other porters in the known world. If we may believe the most respectable travellers, a Turk [Page 110] will carry a load of 700 weight, which is more than any English porter ever attempted to raise.

Among the other refreshments of these warm coun­tries, are the Sorbettes Soldin coffee-houses, or places of public resort. These are iced froth, made with juice of oranges, apricots, or peaches; very agree­able to the palate, and so extremely cold, that a stranger is afraid to swallow them in this hot coun­cry, until, from information and experience, he finds they may be taken in moderation, without any bad consequence.

The people here are not so nice as the English in the management of their wine. It is kept in fla­cons, or large flasks, without corks, having a little oil at top, and not deemed the worse for having been opened a day or two before; and they expose it to the hot sun and all kinds of weather without hesitation. Certain it is, that this treatment has little or no effect upon its taste, flavour, and trans­parency.

The houses are built of a ragged stone, dug from the mountains, and the interstices are filled with rubble, so that the walls would appear very ugly if they were not covered with plaister, which has a [Page 111] very good effect. They generally consist of three stories, and are covered with tiles. The apartments of the better sort, are large and lofty, the floors paved with brick, the roof covered with a thick coat of stucco, and the walls white-washed. People of dis­tinction hang their chambers with damask, striped silk, painted cloths, tapestry, or printed linens. All the doors, as well as the windows, consist of fold­ing leaves. As there is no wainscot in the rooms, which are divided by stone partitions, and the floors and ceilings are covered with brick and stucco, fires are of less dreadful consequences than in our country. The houses in general, have no chimnies, but in the kitchens; and many people, even of con­dition, have no fire in their chambers during the whole winter. When the weather happens to be a little colder than ordinary, they warm their apart­ments with a brasiere of charcoal: the beds com­monly used in this place, and all over Italy, consist of a paillasse, with one or two mattrasses laid upon planks, supported by two wooden benches. Instead of curtains, there is a couziniere, or mosquito-net, made of a kind of gauze, that opens and contracts occasionally, and incloses the bed: persons of condi­tion, $word$ have bedsteads and curtains; but thes$ $span$

[Page 112]Though Nice itself retains few marks of ancient splendor, there are considerable marks of antiquity in its neighbourhood. About two short miles from the town, upon the summit of a pretty high hill, we find the ruins of the ancient city of Cemenelion, now called Cimia, once the metropolis of the mari­time Alps, and the seat of the Roman President. With respect to situation nothing could be more agreeable or salubrious. It stood upon the gentle ascent and summit of a hill, fronting the Mediter­ranean, from the shore of which it is distant about half a league; and on the other side, it overlooked a bottom, or narrow vale, through which the Pag­lion, anciently called Paulo, runs towards the walls of Nice. It was inhabited by a people whom Ptolemy and Pliny call the Vedantic, but these were undoubtedly mixed with a Roman colony, as ap­pears by the monuments still remaining; which are the ruins of an amphitheatre, a temple of Apol­lo, baths, aqueducts, sepulchral and other stones with inscriptions, and a great number of medals, which have been found by accident in digging and labouring the vineyards and corn fields, which cover the ground where the city stood.

The amphitheatre is but very small compared to that of Nismes. The arena is ploughed up, and bears corn; some of the seats remain, and part of [Page 113] two opposite porticos; but all the columns, and the external facade, are taken away. About 100 paces from the amphitheatre stood an ancient temple, supposed to have been dedicated to Apollo. The part called the Basilica, and about one half of the cella sanctior remain. In the latter chamber, says Smollett, I found a lean cow, a he-goat, and a jack­ass; the very same conjunction of animals I had seen drawing a plough in Burgundy.

CHAP. XV. Commerce, Government, &c.

THE chief commerce of this place is a contraband traffic, carried on to the disadvantage of France. A great quantity of merchandise is brought here every week by mules from Turin, and other parts of Piedmont, and afterwards conveyed to the other side of the Var, either by land or by water. The mules of Piedmont are exceeding strong and hardy. One of them will carry a burthen of near [Page 114] 600 weight. They are easily nourished, and require no other respite from their labour but the night's re­pose. They are the only carriage that can be used in crossing the mountains, being very sure footed; and it is observed, that in chusing their steps, they always march upon the brink of the precipice. If they are not permitted to take their own way, the rider is in danger of losing his life, for they are obstinate even to desperation. It is very dangerous to meet these animals on horseback; they have such an aver­sion to horses that they will attack them with incre­dible fury, so as even to tear them and their riders in pieces; and the best method for avoiding this fate is, to clap spurs to one's horse, and seek safety in flight. They always give sufficient warning, by rais­ing a hidious braying, as soon as they perceive a horse at a distance.

Some very feasible schemes for improving the commerce of Nice have been presented to the minis­try of Turin, but hitherto without success. The English import annually between 2 and 3000 bales of raw silk, the growth of Piedmont; and this is im­ported either from Genoa or Leghorn. Fruit and oil are likewise sent over in great quantities from the neighbouring places, there not being sufficient depth of water for ships of any burthen to approach Nice; the harbour likewise wants to be made more com­modious [Page 115] and secure. There is an excellent harbour however, it seems, at Villa Franca, not more than a mile and a half from that of Nice; but the great objection to the improvement of commerce at Nice, according to Smollett, is the want of money, industry, and character. The natives themselves are, in ge­neral, such dirty knaves, that no foreigners will trust them in the way of trade. They have been known to fill their oil-casks half full of water, and their anchovy barrels with stinking heads of that fish, in order to cheat their correspondents.

The shopkeepers of this place are generally poor, greedy, and over-reaching. Many of them are bankrupts of Marseilles, Genoa, and other countries who have fled from their creditors to Nice; which, being a free port, affords an asylum to foreign cheats, and sharpers of every denomination. Here is like­wise a pretty considerable number of Jews, who live in a street appropriated for them, which is shut up every night. They act as brokers, but are generally poor, and deal in frippery, old cloaths, remnants, and houshold-furniture.

There is another branch of commerce engrossed by the Monks. Some convents, of which there are many in this town, have such a number of masses. bequeathed them, that they find it impossible to [Page 116] execute the will of the donors. In this case they agree by the lump with the Friars of poorer convents, who say the masses for less money than has been al­lowed by the defunct, and their employers pocket the difference; for example, says Smollett, my grand­father bequeaths a sum of money to a certain convent, to have such a number of masses said for the repose of his soul, at ten sols each; and this convent, not having time to perform them, bargains with the Friars of another to say them for six sols each, so that they gain four sols upon every mass; for it matters not to the soul of the deceased where they are said, so they be properly authenticated.— A poor gentleman of Nice, (adds the above Writer) who piques himself much on the noble blood that runs in his veins, though he has not a whole pair of breeches to wear, complained to me, that his great-grandmother had founded a perpetual mass for the repose of her own soul, at the rate of 15 sols, (nine­pence English) a-day; which indeed was all that now remained of the family estate. He said, what made the hardship greater on him, she had been dead above 50 years, and in all probability her soul had got out of purgatory long ago, therefore the continuance of the mass was an unnecessary expence. I told him, I thought, in such a case, the defunct should appear before a Civil Magistrate, and make affidavit of her being at peace, for the advantage of [Page 117] the family. After musing some time, he shrugged up his shoulders and said, where the interest of the church was at stake, he did not believe a spirit's declaration would be held legal evidence." In some parts of France the curé of the parish, on All Souls' Day, which is called Jours des Morts, says a prayer, for two sols, at every grave in the bu­rying-ground, for the release of the soul whose body is there interred.

The citizens of Nice are lazy, needy, very awk­ward, and void of all ingenuity. The price of their labour is very near as high as at London or Paris. The lowest class of people have all the outward signs of extreme misery. They are all diminutive, mea­gre, withered, dirty, and half naked; in their com­plexions not barely swarthy, but black as Moors. They are, many of them, very hard favoured, and their women in general have the coarsest features imagina­ble; it must be owned, however, they have the finest teeth in the world. They are remarkably re­spectful and submissive to their superiors.

The populace of Nice are very quiet and orderly, little addicted to drunkenness, riots are never heard of, and murder and robbery are altogether un­known. A man may walk alone over the county of Nice, at midnight, without danger of in­sult. [Page 118] The police is well regulated. No one is per­mitted to wear a pistol or dagger, on pain of being sent on board the gallies. In Nice the common people retire to their lodgings at eight o'clock in winter, and nine in summer. Every person found in the streets after these hours, is apprehended by the patrole, and if he cannot give a good account of himself is sent to prison. At nine in winter, and ten in summer, the curfew bell is rung, warning people to put out their lights and go to bed. This is a very necessary precaution in towns liable to conflagra­tions, but of small use in Nice, where there is little combustible in the houses.

The punishments inflicted upon malefactors at Nice are, hanging for capital crimes; slavery on board the gallies, for a limited term or for life, ac­cording to the nature of the transgression; flaggella­tion and the strappado. This last punishment is per­formed by hoisting up the criminal, with his hands tied behind his back, on a pully, about two stories high; from whence the rope being suddenly slack­ened, he falls to within a yard or two of the ground, where he is stopped with a violent shock, arising from the weight of his body, and the velocity of his descent, which generally dislocates his shoulders with incredible pain. This dreadful execution is sometimes repeated in a few minutes on the same de­linquent, [Page 119] so that the very ligaments are torn from his joints, and his arms rendered useless for life.

The government of Nice is in the hands of a se­nate, consisting of a President, and a certain number of Senators, who are distinguished by their purple robes, and other ensigns of authority. They admi­nister justice, having the power of life and death, not only through the whole county of Nice, but causes are evoked from Onelia, and some other places in the neighbourhood, to their tribunal, which is the dernier resort, from whence there is no appeal. The Commandant, however, by virtue of his mili­tary power, and unrestrained authority, takes upon him to punish individuals by imprisonment, corporal pains, and banishment, without consulting the senate, or indeed observing any form of trial. The only re­dress against unjust exercise of this absolute power is, by complaint to the King.

The King is said to draw from Nice, 100,000 li­vres annually, arising from a free gift, amounting to 700l. in lieu of the trille, from which this country is exempted; an inconsiderable duty upon wine, and and the droits de post. These last consist of anchor­age, paid by all vessels in proportion to their ton­nage, when they enter the harbour of Nice and Villa Franca. Besides all foreign vessels under a stipulated [Page 120] burthen passing between the island of Sardinia and this coast, are obliged in going to the eastward, to enter and pay a certain stipulated imposition, on pain of being taken and made prizes of. The Prince of Monaco exacts a talliage of the same kind; and both he and the King of Sardinia maintain armed cruizers to assist this prerogative: from which, however, the English and French are exempted by treaty, in con­sequence of a sum of money having been paid at once. In all probability, it was originally given for maintaining lights on the coast, like the toll paid for passing the sound in the Baltic. The fanal, or lan­thorn, to the eastward of Villa Franca, is kept in good repair, and still lighted in the winter. The toll, however, is very troublesome to feluccas, and other small craft, who are very much retarded, and often lose the benefit of a fair wind, by being obliged to run in shore, and enter these harbours.

The whole county of Nice is said to yield the King half a million of livres, or about 25000 pounds sterling, exclusive of the revenue he draws from the city. If we may believe the politicians of Nice, the King of Sardinia's revenues which he draws from Nice, exceed the double of this sum. It must be owned, that there is no country in Christendom, less taxed, than Nice; and as the soil produces the necessaries of life, the inhabitants, with a little in­dustry, [Page 121] might renew the golden age in this happy climate. In the midst of the pastoral advantages to be found in it, the peasants are poor and miserable; they have no stock to begin the world with, nor have they any leases of the lands they cultivate, but entirely depend from year to year on the plea­sure of the arbitrary land-holder; after all, the ground is too scanty for the number of families crowded on it.

With respect to the state of the arts and sciences of Nice, there is, in this particular, almost a total blank. This country seems at present consecrated to dulness and superstition. It is very surprising to see a people, established between two enlightened na­tions, so devoid of taste and literature. Here are no tolerable pictures, busts, statues, nor edifices, the very ornaments of the churches are wretchedly con­ceived, and worse executed. They have no public nor private libraries that afford any thing worth pe­rusing. There is not so much as a single bookseller in Nice. Though they value themselves on being natives of Italy, they are unacquainted with music. The few that play upon any instruments, attend only to the execution. They have no genius nor taste, nor any knowledge of harmony and composition. Among the French, a Nissard piques himself on being pro­vincial; but in Florence, Milan, or Rome, he claims [Page 122] the honour of being a native of Italy. The people of con­dition, speak both languages equally well, or rather equally ill; for they use a low uncouth phraseology. Their vernacular tongue, is what they call Patois, though in so calling it, they do it injustice. Patois, from the Latin word patavinitas, means no more than a provincial accent or dialect. It takes its name from Patavium, or Padua, the birth place of Livy, who with all his merit, as a writer, has admitted in­to his history some provincial expressions of his own country. The Patois, or native tongue of Nice, is no other than the ancient Provencal, from which the Italian, Spanish, and French languages have been formed. This is the language that rose upon the ruins of the Latin tongue, after the irruption of the Goths, Vandals, Huns, and Burgundians, by whom the Roman empire was destroyed. It was spoken all over Italy, Spain, and the southern parts of France, until the 13th century, when the Italians began to polish it into the language they now call their own. The Spaniards, and French likewise, improved it into their respective tongues.

CHAP. XVI. Climate, Lakes, &c.

THIS Duchy is bounded on the West by Savoy, Piedmont, and Montferat, on the North by Switzerland; on the East by the Venetian territo­ries, and the Duchies of Mantua, Parma, and Pla­centia, and on the South by the dependencies of the republic of Genoa. Its greatest breadth, from North to South, is 100 English miles, and its length, from East to West 120 miles. Scarce any country throughout Europe is more fertile in a variety of excellent productions. Every where it is watered either by rivulets or canals; and, after the harvests of the usual kinds of grain, the people sow Turkey wheat, chiefly on ac­count [Page 124] of their poultry, which they have in great plenty, and very excellent. The peasants also make bread of this wheat, and, when mixed with rye, it is even used by people in good circumstances. It is not above a century since this vegetable has been introduced into these parts, and in the opinion of some, to the great disadvantage of the country; for this sort of grain is thought of such a quality as not only to impoverish the land, and render it barren, but likewise to be prejudicial to the health, both of the farmers, who sow and reap it, and of those who eat the Maliga bread. That the cultivation of rice has done no good either to the soil, or the inha­bitants, is a matter of such certainty in Piedmont, that it is absolutely prohibited. Upon entering the Milanese, one meets with it in great quantities, where it is allowed, with this restriction; that it is not to be sown near any town: and about three miles on this side Novari is a stone set up as a boundary to the sowing of rice. The whole world does not afford a tract of land so well watered as the Milanese; and as the ditches and canals, every where divide the fields and meadows, no place can be better adapted for rice. After it is sown, the ground is laid under water, and continues so till the rice be ripe; but the pernicious effects of the deficcation of such a marshy soil, are but too conspicuous in the violent head-achs, vertigoes and fluxes, with which those [Page 125] persons are seized, who, in summer, only travel along roads adjoining to the rice-grounds.

The fertility of the soil is so great, in most parts of the Milanese, as to yield two crops in a year. The corn sowed in the autumn of the preceding year ripens in June; and this is no sooner carried in, but the ground is a second time sown with barley, Turkey wheat, &c. which is reaped in the month of November. The pastures are very rich, espe­cially in the district of Lodi, which is famous for the breeding of cattle. The cheese made in the country, improperly called Parmesan, is used all over Italy, in the best soups. Here is also excel­lent wine, and all manner of vegetables, and fruit in perfection; together with a very considerable number of mulberry trees, for silk. The charms of the country are besides heightened by three large lakes.

The Lago Magiore, or Lago di Locarno, is sixty five Italian miles in length, and six in breadth in most places, and its depth, about the mid­dle, eight fathoms. Towards Switzerland, it terminates in a canal of infinite convenience for commerce. The journey to Geneva, through Sion, takes up four days, but the road is extremely bad. Near Cesti the lake discharges itself into the river [Page 126] Ticino, which is properly the eflux of Lago Mag­giore; and at its beginning, the current is so rapid, as with the help of a single oar, to carry a boat thirty miles in three hours, but this rapidity, when the water is low, makes it dangerous. The quickness of passage on the river, is balanced by the want of dis­patch on the canal, which is cut from the river to Milan, and is thirty miles in length. The boat being drawn by horses moves so slowly that it takes up a whole day to reach Milan. However, this canal is of very great advantage to Milan, for by means of this, and the Lago Maggiore, it carries on a trade with several provinces of Germany, Swit­zerland, and France.

This Lake is every way environed with hills covered with vineyards, and summer-houses. Above the vineyards are plantations of chesnut-trees, the fruit of which, in the Northern part of Italy, are consumed in such quantities, that, when chesnuts are in great plenty, the price of corn falls, especially at Genoa. They continue fresh and green till Christ­mas; but the common people eat them till Easter. Along the banks of the lake are fine rows of trees, and walks arched with vine-branches. This fine prospect is further heightened by large cascades, falling from the mountains.

[Page 127]Two leagues from Cesti, the lake begins to widen, and presents to view the two celebrated islands Isola Madre, and Isola Bella. These two islands can be compared to nothing more properly, than two py­ramids of sweetmeats, ornamented with green fes­toons and flowers. In the garden of Isola Bella, are ten terrasses, and the perpendicular height of these, taken together, is 60 ells above the surface of the water. These terrasses proportionably decrease in their circumference towards the top of the hill. The oblong area on the summit, affords a most charming prospect; is paved with fine stone, and surrounded with a balustrade. It is in length from 45 to 50 common paces, and on every side stands a range of marble statues in the gigantic taste. Round every terrass is a pleasant walk, and at the four angles, are large statues and pyramids, placed alternately. The walls from the bottom to the top, are covered with laurel hedges, and espa­liers of orange, lemon, peach-trees, &c. The an­nual charge of these Borromean paradises amount to 40,000 Piedmontese livres: but to raise so no­ble a superstructure, on such a foundation, and to bring these islands to their present incompara­ble beauty and magnificence, seems an under­taking beyond even the revenue of a prince to compass.

[Page 128]These islands belong to the Borromeo family; they were, no longer ago than the middle of the last century, only a barren rock, to which every basket of earth, and every thing that is found there, must have been brought at a prodigious expence. The garden of Isola Bella, has a south aspect, and at the two angles of its facade, are two round towers, with very lofty apartments, adorned with red and black marble. Near the towers, is an inscription, signi­fying that Count Borromeo, by the foundation under­neath, and the edifices erected on these rugged mishapen rocks, imparted a dignity to his leisure, and grandeur to his amusements, 1671.

In the palace, though not compleated, are great numbers of fine pictures, vases, busts, and other curiosities. Among the paintings, the flower pieces, some of which are painted upon marble, cannot be sufficiently admired. Several of the chambers are hung with portraits of the Borromeo family. The vaults, on which the palace stands, are conti­guous to the lake, and, like grottos, decorated with marble and shell work. The floor is a kind of Mosaic work, consisting of small stones, so as to represent all sorts of figures. Besides this assem­blage of the beauties of art and nature, the lake, with its undulating waves, continually washes the entrance of the grottos, so that a more delightful [Page 129] summer retreat, can hardly be imagined. Towards the south, and close behind the house, are five lofty cypress trees, of an extraordinary largeness, equal­ling the palace in height, and the stems are covered with a thick foliage of ever-green oaks to the very ground. In going from the house, towards the garden, the smell is immediately refreshed with the united odors of fruit and flowers. The first contra espalier, after ascending a few steps, consists of burgamot, lemon, or citron trees; next to this appears a high range of orange-trees, beyond this is a lofty grotto, adorned with water-works and statues: over its centre, is a unicorn, of an enor­mous size, in a springing attitude, with a Cupid on his back. On both sides there is an ascent by steps to the oblong area, which terminates the ten terrasses.

From Isola Bella to Isola Madre, is about half an hour's sailing. The latter has seven terrasses, which are high but sloping, and at a considerable distance from each other, so that it appears to the eye to be lower than Isola Bella, but they are of an equal height, according to the original plans. The greatest part of the foundation of Isola Madre, is a high perpen­dicular rock, projecting considerably over the sur­face of the water. The house is nothing remark­able, that front only being completeed which looks [Page 130] towards Isola Bella, however, it is not without fine paintings, flowers, landscapes, &c. The garden also abounds with beauties; among these, are a fine espalier of citron-trees, with a low contra espalier of orange-trees, an arched walk of cedars, a smaller espalier of jessamin, an espalier of acacia, and ano­ther of rosemary, not less than eight feet in height. with stems of the thickness of a man's arm. Here are also several small groves of laurel, with walks cut through them; some of these trees are of an uncom­mon thickness. An espalier of laurels, in this cli­mate, will shoot up to the height of eighteen feet, in six or seven years. There is a little house built in this island for the pheasants, and near it is a beauti­ful grove of very lofty cypress-trees: each row con­sists of twenty-five trees, which spread very wide in circumference, and the trunks are of the thickness of a man's body. This appears the finest part of the island, and is so beautiful, says Keysler, that it na­turally recals to ones mind, the fabulous descriptions of enchanted islands. He has given views of them.

The Lago di Lugano, is 20 miles in length, and the Lago di Como, 36, with an arm pro­jecting from the North-west, to the South-East, till at last it becomes a regular river, called the Adda, which empties itself into the Po. This latter lake, says Martin, is the pleasantest of all those at the foot [Page 131] of the Alps. There are large plantations of Agrumi, on the borders of it, particularly in the sweet environs of Tremenzina, whither many of the noble Milanese retire, during the heat of sum­mer.

At Casa Simonetta, is an echo, which will repeat the human voice, 40 times, and the report of a pistol, 56 or 60 times. This is occasioned, says Keysler, by the reflection of the voice, between the opposite pa­rallel wings of the building, which are 58 common paces from each other, and without any windows, or doors, by which the sound might be dissipated or lost. The repetition of the sound, dwells chiefly on the last syllable, which might have been altered, by allow­ing a greater distance between the two wings; but possibly it was apprehended, that the number of the repetitions would be diminished by that means. The reverberations of the air, in conveying sounds, are best conceived by two looking-glasses, alternate­ly reflecting to each other an image, which gradually fades; but whether the repetition of the sound be direct or undulatory, I shall not at present discuss. It is certain, that where no intermediate body op­poses the motion of the air, there is no echo; and where the opposite bodies are at too great a distance from each other, either the air impelled by the [Page 132] voice or instrument, doth not reach them; or the motion is so weak, that it causes but a faint echo, which cannot be heard. On the other hand, if the resisting body be too near, it reflects the sound too quick to be distinctly perceived. If the voice falls on an angular or convex body the reflected sound diverges into several different directions, none of which form a proper angle to reach the ear. A concave or convex body indeed, reflects the sound with a stronger echo to one particular place, (as a concave burning glass reflects and concenters the solar rays into one focus,) which is not heard by the person who first put the air in motion, but by some others, who happen to be in the focus where the rays of sound unite. This kind of echo is at­tended with no repercussion, and causes only a sin­gle repetition of the sound. Two or more bodies, placed opposite each other, at different distances, are requisite to form a multiplied echo; or the wall at which the speaker stands must have another wall, opposite to it, so as to form two parallel planes, which will alternately reflect to each other the sound communicated to them with as little dissipa­tion as possible. This last circumstance is found in the two parallel wings of this seat, which forming right angles, with the main body of the building, have a very surprising effect. A man's voice is re­peated above 40 times, and the report of a pistol [Page 133] above 60 by this echo: but the repetition is so quick, that it is difficult to tell them, or even to mark them down, unless it be early in a morning, or in a calm still evening: when the air is rather too moist or too dry, the effect is found not to answer so well. Pliny mentions a wonderful echo at Olim­pia, where a gallery was contrived, so as to repeat a word seven times.

The Milanese are fond of rural sports, and pass part of the summer, and the whole autumn in the country. Monte di Brianza, on which many of their country houses are situated, is delightful for the variety of landscapes, and for being well watered. Every part indeed of the state of Milan, except to the northward, which is mountainous, bears testi­mony to the beneficial effects of inigation. There are generally five crops of hay every season in the neighbourhood of Milan and in the province of Lodi, where the meadows are watered once a week during the summer, if necessary.

CHAP. XVII. City of Milan.

MILAN, the ancient capital of Lombardy, is the largest city in Italy, except Rome, but though it is thought, says Moore, rather to exceed Naples in size, it does not contain above one half the number of inhabitants. Like Rome, says Mar­tin, it has many large gardens, and like Rome too, it is well peopled in the parts that are built. This city is not to be compared for beauty and conve­nience with that of Turin, most of the streets being narrow and winding. All the houses here are co­vered with pantiles, and in many of the cross streets, and at the stations or places, where the public pro­cessions stop, statues are erected, to the number of 60, some of marble, but most of brass. The in­habitants of this city are computed to be about 300,000. Milan has 12 gates, six of which are larger than the rest, and terminate so many broad streets, called Gli Corsi; and these are the best in the whole city; but they are a great distance from the centre, and likewise from each other; a [Page 135] daily market is kept at the six great gates. There are 110 monasteries in Milan, 100 oratories for religious fraternities, 170 schools, and 250 churches, of which near 100 are parochial.

The cathedral stands in the centre of the city; and, after, St. Peter's at Rome, is the most consider­able building in Italy. It ought, by this time, to be the largest in the world, says Moore, if what they tell us be true, that it is near 400 years since it was begun, and that there has been a consi­derable number of men daily employed in compleat­ing it ever since; but as the injuries which time does to the ancient parts of the fabric, keep them in constant employment, without the possibility of their work being ever completed, Martial's Epigram on the Barber Eutrapelus, has been applied to them with great propriety. That poor man, it seems, performed his operations so very slowly, that the beards of his patients, required shaving again, on the side where he had begun, by the time he had finished the other. No church in Christendom is so much loaded, I had almost said disfigured, with ornaments. The number of statues, within-side and without, is prodigious; they are all of marble, and many of them finely wrought.

[Page 136]The greater part cannot be distinctly seen from below, and therefore certainly have nothing to do above. Besides those which are of a size, and in a situation to be distinguished from the street, there are great numbers of smaller statues, like fairies, peeping from the cornice, and hid among the grotesque ornaments, which are here in great pro­fusion. They must have cost much labour to the artists who formed them, and are still a source of toil to strangers, who, in compliment to the person who harangues on the beauties of this church, which he says, is the eighth wonder of the world, are obliged to ascend to the roof to have a nearer view of them.

This vast fabric is not simply incrusted, which is not uncommon in Italy, but entirely built of solid white marble, and supported by 50 columns, said to be 84 feet high. The four pillars, under the cupola, are 28 feet in circumference. By much the finest statue, belonging to it, is that of St. Bartholomew. He appears stayed, with his skin flung round his middle, like a sash, and in the easiest and most degagé attitude imaginable. The muscles are well expressed, and the figure might be placed with great propriety, in the hall of an anatomist; but, exposed as it is, to the view of people of all professions, and of both sexes, it excites more [Page 137] disgust and horror, than admiration. Like those beggars, who uncover their sores in the streets, the artist has destroyed the very effect he meant to pro­duce. This would have sufficiently evinced, that the statue was not the work of Praxiteles, without the inscription on the pedestal. ‘Non me Praxiteles, sed Marcus finxit Agrato.’ "I am not the workmanship of Praixteles, but of Marcus Agrato."

The inside of the choir, is ornamented by some highly esteemed sculpture, in wood. From the roof, hangs a case of crystal, enclosing a nail, surrounded by rays of gilt metal, and said to be one of those, by which our Saviour was nailed to the cross: near it is a kind of machine by which six persons may be drawn up to it at once. On the third of May, being the festival of the invention of the cross, this relique is carried about in grand procession. The like is also done on any extraordinary irritations, as a long drought, the plague, and other public cala­mities. It is then carried by the Archbishop, under a magnificent canopy.

Among other curiosities in this church, there is a very extraordinary one, viz. a piece of Aaron's rod. Some pieces of it, are also shewn in the palace-church of Hanover, among those reliques which Henry, surnamed the Lion, brought from the [Page 138] Holy-land; it is also accompanied with a piece of Moses's rod.

The pavement is a kind of mosaic, consisting of pieces of red, black, and white marble, in­laid; so as to represent circles, festoons, flowers, foliage, &c. so that when it is viewed from the cu­pola, it appears like a beautiful carpet. The pave­ment of the choir, is said to have cost above five thousand crowns. The rest of the pavement is only made of tiles, and those laid so uneven, as to be very inconvenient for people to walk upon them.

The Prebendarie stalls are made of walnut-tree, on which, all the remarkable actions of the Emperor Theodosius and St. Ambrose, are admirably executed in sculpture. Every action is represented on a dis­tinct compartment, and though numerous, are said to be the work of one artist. The canons are di­vided into three classes, thirty of which, are nobles; and, like the Cardinals, wear a red vestment; the second class consists of wealthy citizens, who are cloathed in green; and the rest, wear the common habit of the Clergy.

A marble stair-case, carried round one of the main pillars, consisting of 158 steps, leads to the first [Page 139] outward gallery. Here is a marble statue of Duke John Galeazzo Visconti, on the top of a pyramid, with a flag in his hand, who, in the year 1386, laid the foundation of this stately edifice. This statue, though as big as the life, when seen from the ground, does not appear to exceed a span and a half in length. Many statues of Saints, Dukes, and other eminent personages, stand round the gallery; several of these images are of a gigantic size, and some make such an appearance, that reverence for the persons represented, and a regard to modesty, has occasioned them to be placed at this height, in order to set them at a proper distance from the pub­lic view.

In this church, there are silver votive offerings, to the weight of some thousands of ounces, repre­senting heads, hearts, feet, hands, ears, and other parts of the body, which had been hurt or diseased, but supposed to be restored to their strength and soundness, by the intercession of St. Charles Borromeo. All silversmiths expose to sale, such votive pieces, of different sizes, ready made, that a recovered patient may immediately pay his vow, lest his gratitude should cool by any delay.

The body of this Saint, lies on the altar of a sub­terraneous chapel, directly under the main cupola. [Page 140] It is dressed in pontifical robes, and lies in a shrine of crystal, of almost inestimable value, within a coffin made of wood. The body is entire, and the face quite perfect, except the tip of the nose, but the skin is of the colour and consistence of parch­ment; it has a shining appearance, like a burn or scald newly healed; he has silk gloves on; his portrait is preserved in a little chapel just by; it is done in embroidery by the famous Peregina, and exhibits a strong likeness, to what he is at present. There is but one key belonging to this chapel, which is kept by the Archbishop, without whose leave, this venerable relique is not to be seen. The walls of the chapel are almost every where lined with silver. This is the Saint, who sold an estate for 80,000 dol­lars, all which money he distributed in one day to the poor. Every separate compartment of this chapel, is cased, says Piozzi, like our old fashioned watch-cases, with some story from his life. Every year, the immortal Carlo Borromeo's actions are rehearsed, and his praises celebrated by people, appointed in every church, to preach his example and record his excellence.

A sight of the treasury, costs about five or six shillings; it is extremely rich, and contains a prodi­gious number of gold and silver vessels, statues, rings, chalices, crucifixes, of which the metal is the least [Page 141] valuable part. Some of the most valuable curiosi­ties to be seen here, are a silver image of St. Bor­romeo, bigger than life, with a diamond crucifix of immense value, hanging at his breast. The front of this mitre, which is always put on the deceased Archbishop's head, when his body is carried in pro­cession, is entirely covered with pearl. The Arch­bishop, on these public occasions, carries a crystal cup, set in gold, with a sapphire of the largeness of a bean, on the top of the cover. Another jewel, con­sisting of a cluster of gems, with an oriental topaz, of the bigness of a large walnut in the centre, is worn by the Archbishop at his bosom. St. Charles Borromeo's ring, has in it a sapphire of the size of a hazel-nut, and is kissed, with great devotion, by all ecclesiastics.

A rich merchant of this city, left besides his other charitable foundations, 230,000 ducats, to be ex­pended in building the front of the cathedral only, and yet the work is not so much as begun. This is supposed to be omitted purposely, that persons of fortune, and of a liberal disposition, being affected by such a sight, may be excited to contribute largely, in order to complete the church, and embrace the opportunity of securing their eter­nal salvation. Though, as we observed before, it is near five centuries since this church has been [Page 142] begun: the whole square behind it, is filled with workmen, employed in sawing, cutting, and polish­ing the marble. There is an annual income of 18,000 crowns levied till the church shall be com­pleted.

Both here, and in other churches in the Mila­nese, the entrances are crowded with old women, spinning, or occupied with some other employment; as they do not beg, they possibly conceive it to be a work of merit, to spend the whole day, as it were, in the house of God. One also meets here, with wo­men in black veils, asking alms, supposed to be such, who, from their rank or circumstances, are not willing to be known; as they beg in public. Formerly, men used this disguise, but, on account of the many abuses they committed, the Archbishop prohibited that sex the use of it.

Opposite to the cathedral, stands the Archbishop's palace, a very spacious building, consisting of two courts. In one of these, are the statues of St. Charles Borromeo, and St. Ambrose; the latter, with an iron rod in his hand, as an emblem of his heroic opposi­tion to the Emperor Theodosius, in which particular, the Clergy, had they power, do not want the inclina­tion to imitate him.

[Page 143]The Ambrosian college, which stands near the centre of the city, is a foundation for the several branches of literature, where youth are instructed gratis, by 16 professors. The city is obliged to Cardinal F. Borromeo, nephew to the Saint of that name, for this institution. The chief thing here, worth a traveller's notice, is the library, which is upon a very extensive scale. This library, except in vacation time, is open every morning, from ten to twelve, and in the afternoon also, for two hours: it contains 45,000 printed volumes; which, however, are far less valuable than its treasure of manuscripts. In appearance, it does not seem credible, that the latter should amount to 15,000, as it is pretended; but, that there are some good pieces among them, is certain. Here is a voluminous work, treating of the affairs of Italy, entitled, de Scriptoribus Rerum Italicarum, compiled by the learned Muraton. The most curious manuscript in the whole library, is a translation of Josephus's History of the Jews, by Rufinus, in folio, it being reputed to be above 1300, or at least 1100 years old, and is written on the bark of a tree. Some adjacent rooms, serve for a mu­seum, where, among other curiosities, is the skeleton of a woman of great beauty, who directed that her bones should be disposed of in this manner, and under the skeleton, are these words: Ut aegrotan­tium saluti mortucrum inspectione viventes prospicere [Page 144] possint bunc [...]. i. e. This skeleton is placed here, that the living, by a view of the dead, may be the better enabled to restore health to the sick. If this lady, says Moore, only meant to give a proof of the transient nature of external charms, and that a beau­tiful woman is not more desirable after death, than a homely one, she might have allowed her body to be consigned to dust in the usual way. In spite of all the cosmetics, and other auxiliaries, which vanity employs to varnish and to support decaying beauty and flaccid charms, the world have been long satis­fied, that death is not necessary to put the fair and the homely on a level; a very few years, even dur­ing life, do the business.

But the most valuable thing, among the whole collection, are 12 large volumes of Leonardo da Vinci's manuscripts, consisting of mathematical and other designs, which sufficiently manifest the accurate knowledge of that great man in anatomy, optics, geometry, architecture, sculpture, and me­chanics; and that in the theory of those sciences, he has been equalled by very few. His mechanical de­signings are exceedingly curious, and consist of 399 leaves, containing 1750 original designs. The notes are written in very small hand, and from the right to the left; so that they cannot be easily read, without a magnifying speculum, and on this account, there is [Page 145] one always at hand. For this one volume, James I. King of England, is said to have commissioned the Earl of Arundel, to offer 3000 pistoles to the per­son in whose hands it then was; but he rather chose to make a present of it to the Ambrosian college, that this part of his works might not be se­parated from the rest.

Leonardo had his surname of Vinci, from a castle of that name, situated near Florence. He died at Fountainbleau, in 1520, in the 75th year of his age, with this honorable circumstance, that he expired in the arms of Francis the Ist. who had condescended to visit him in his last illness.

In this library, are also volumes of designs by other masters, such as Raphael, Michael Angelo, Andrea del Sarto, Corregio, Parmesano, and several books of painted birds and flowers.

Over the great door of the refectory, in the Do­minican convent, is the Lord's supper, painted by Leonardo da Vinci, but with too many marks of the injuries of time. The story of Vinci's revenge on the haughty Prior, who was incessantly teazing him to dispatch the picture, in painting the traitor Judas in his likeness, may, with other particulars, be read at large, in Vasari's Lives of the Painters.

[Page 146]The following distich on a plain piece of marble, shews where George Merula, the historian, a native of Milan, lies interred:

Vixi aliis inter spinas mundique procellas,
Nunc hospes caeli Merula vivo mihi,
Lancinus Curtius F. Amticus posit.

"When among the storms and troubles of the world, I, Merula, lived to others; but now, become an inhabitant of heaven, I live for myself. Lancinus Curtius his friend, erected this.

In the sacristy of St. Eustorius's church, is a gold medal, said to be among the offerings of the Magi to Jesus Christ. Whenever this medal is shewn to any person, the Monks insist on a promise of their devoutly kissing it. It seems there are scarce any traces of an impression remaining. The bodies of the three Magi, are reported to have been first brought from Persia to Constantinople, from whence they were conveyed to Milan. But Antiquarians are not a little divided about their number, some affirming them to have been 12, others 14, and Epi­phanius, 15. Their three-fold offering was no proof of their being but three in number; gold, and myrrh, and frankincense, being the most valuable produce of their country, and what the Queen of [Page 147] Sheba brought Solomon, as the most honorable pre­sent she could make that monarch. The more mo­dern writers, agreeable to the opinion of Pope Leo the Great, limit the number of the eastern Magi to three; but venerable Bede is the first who brought to light their names, viz. Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar: and it is a superstitious notion of some standing, that the following distich, written on a slip of paper, and carried about the patient, is an infallible preservative against epilepsies:

Caspar fert myrrham; thus, Melchior; Balthasar, aurum,
Haec tria qui secum portabit nomina regum,
Solvitur a morbo Christi pietate caduco.

"Caspar brings myrrh, Melchior frankincense, Balthasar gold; whoever carries about him the names of these three Kings, will be preserved through the merits of Jesus Christ, from the salling sick­ness.

Keysler, who in general is very accurate, has only two lines, and observes, that something seems wanting to complete the sense.

Near the Porta Orientale, is the spacious Lazaretto, belonging to the great hospital; the area is let out to poor people, who maintain themselves by culti­vating [Page 148] gardens and vineyards; and this is the only thing worth seeing in it. The 360 chambers round the quadrangle, are quite empty and out of repair. The whole building is of stone, and every cell has a window towards the country, and another towards the gardens in the middle of the Lagaretto, and its particular chimney and privy. On the outside of these cells, runs a piazza, with marble pillars. In the time of a pestilence, or epidemic distem­per, foreigners are expelled out of the country, and the infected subjects brought hither. The compass of ground inclosed in the Lazaretto, may be con­ceived from the length of one of its sides, which is 600 paces. Another great convenience here is, that a swift stream is made to run along under the whole quadrangle, and thus carries off all the filth. Facing the entrance, is a marble pillar, with a hole, representing a broken plague-sore in the flesh; within, it appears fresh and bloody, and without, yellow and purulent, and is said to arise from a miracle of St. Charles Borromeo, who once exor­cised the plague into this pillar.

As to hospitals, Lazaretti, and other charitable foundations, protestant countries can by no means come in competition with those of the Romish per­suasion. However, at Leyden there is still a pest-house kept up, with 250 beds always in readiness, [Page 149] and, upon occasion, capable of receiving 900 pa­tients. Nothing can exceed the cleanliness and de­cency observed there, with this exception only, that every patient has not a particular room, but 20, or more lie in one ward; which, in a contagious distem­per, cannot but be attended with bad consequences. From this dreadful scourge, Leyden has been free ever since 1667, and Milan since the year 1630; and it is to be hoped that, by the precautions lately introduced, the use of more healthy and nutritive aliments, greater cleanliness in apparel and linen, spaciousness of houses, and breadth of streets, for freer passage of the air, that Europe will no more be subject to such pestilential ravages, as in the days of our ancestors.

During the last plague at Milan some villains were found of such execrable barbarity, as to increase the contagion by poisonous ointments, which they threw in the streets, or smeared about in several parts of the city. However their abominable guilt was not long concealed, and two of the ring-leaders, a Barber, and the Commissary of Health, were punish­ed with proper rigour and severity; as appears by an inscription on a pillar erected where the Barber's house stood, which is called Colonna infame.

[Page 150]The purport of the inscription, which is in Latin, is, that in this open area formerly stood the shop of John James Mora, who, together with William Platea, the Commissary of Health, and others, whilst the city was afflicted with a dreadful pestilence, spread about poisonous ointments, by which many died in a deplorable manner. Being by the Senate declared enemies to their country, they were first sentenced to be torn in pieces with red hot pincers, and to have their right hands cut off, then to be broke upon the wheel, and to lie six hours tied down to the same; after which their throats to be cut, and their bodies to be burned to ashes; and, that no­thing might remain of such execrable villains, their goods to be confiscated, and their ashes to be thrown into the river; and, that for the perpetual com­memoration of their guilt and punishment, the house, where this horrid fact was concerted, was or­dered to be levelled to the ground, and never to be rebuilt, and a pillar to be erected on the spot, called the Infamous Column. Approach not this place good citizens, is farther inscribed upon it, fly far away; lest ye be polluted by this infamous and exe­crable spot.

In one of the convents belonging to the Domini­cans, the tribunal of the Inquisition is held; the se­verities of which are exercised chiefly against the [Page 151] Jewish religion, and no one of that profession must come into the city without first making his appear­ance before this tribunal. The court of Inquisition at Milan, besides ecclesiastics, consists of 60 noble­ment, and 150 reputable merchants. They, whose misfortune it is to fall into their hands, never know the informer, nor on what account they are imprisoned; and from those nauseous cells in which they are confined, and other shocking hardships, there is no deliverance but by becoming their own accusers.

A priest, says Keysler, previous to his visiting this city, underwent a severe punishment merely for celebrating mass before he received his bull of ordina­tion. It was in vain for him to plead that the Pope's bull was on the road from Rome; and the interest of his relations, who were persons of some note, was to as little purpose. A scaffold being erected before the church where the crime had been committed, he was sentenced first to read mass; and as soon as he began, the first leaf was immediately torn out, after which his canonical robes were pulled off. He was then delivered over to the civil magistrate, by whose order, the thumbs, with the fore and mid­dle fingers of both his hands, between which, at the elevation, he held the host, being first burnt to a coal, he was hanged. This severity is easily [Page 152] accounted for from the dignity assumed by the priesthood, and the great importance to the Pope, that none intrude themselves into that office with­out being properly ordained. It is a position of Hostiensis that the sacerdotal office, is 7644 times above the regal, that being the proportion of mag­nitude between the sun and the moon. In the eye of the canon law the prerogative of the crown is as much inferior to that of the mitre, as lead is to gold. But Alanus de Rupe, in his Treatise on the Dignity of the Priesthood, takes a higher flight, and scruples not to raise the power of the priest above that of God himself, alledging that God spent a whole week in creating the world, and disposing it into proper form; whereas a priest, every time he says mass with a word or two, produces not a mere creature, but the supreme uncreated Being himself the origin of all things. Le Gendre, in his History of France, relating that Louis XI wishing that he was as happy as the Virgin Mary, who carried our Saviour in her womb; the Pope gave that monarch to understand, that the priestly office is still more ho­nourable; insomuch that a priest may daily, or oft­ner, carry the body of Christ in his hand.

Near the Dominican church is a school with this inscription over the door:

Pauperibus pueris primam capientibus artem
En pateo, argentum nolo, sed ingenium.

[Page 153]"I stand open to poor youths, who are desirous of the first rudiments of learning; I ask not money, only genius."

The great hospital, founded by Duke Francisco Sfortia, is a noble building, perhaps the first in the world of it's kind. The middle court of this hospital is surrounded by a piazza, which consists of 80 arches, supported by marble pillars. Each side of this court, which is square, is 250 feet in length, and has three galleries: besides this large court, there are eight smal­ler. The number of wards for the sick and wounded, are 24, who are distributed into proper wards, ac­cording to their different diseases. The consump­tive patients have their particular ward, another is appointed for fevers, a third for the small pox, a fourth for the wounded, a fifth for the venereal dis­ease, &c. There are generally about 400 patients in the fever-ward. Though this ward is very lofty in respect of the others, and all possible care is taken for the free passage of air, to keep it sweet and cle$$, yet amidst such numbers of patients, it is impossible to prevent an offensive smell. The sight of some hundreds, lying in a fever, must every where be disagreeable, but especially here, where the black hair of the Italians adds to the ghastliness of their sallow, meagre visages.

[Page 154]In the admission of exposed foundlings, or of sick and wounded, no regard is paid to country or reli­gion. The Protestants lie in the same wards with other patients, but at the other end; and when the Host is elevated, or carried about, a curtain is drawn between them and the rest. Thus, by a very commendable and humane indulgence, the adora­tion of the Host is dispensed with, and the conscience is free from all compulsion; nor are strangers obliged to kneel on meeting the Host, either in the churches or streets.

The wounded are brought into this hospital by a particular door, which is kept open all night for that purpose; but other patients are admitted only in the day-time. This is a regulation, which if the Governors of our Hospitals in England, were to adopt, it would redound more to their cre­dit and humanity. We have the conceit to imagine, that we are the most charitable nation on the face of the earth; whereas, an attentive insight into the manners and customs of other nations, will shew that there are few, who do not exceed us, in their bene­volent institutions, for the assistance and relief of the distressed.

These foundations are under the continual in­spection of 19 of the principal nobility; one of these [Page 155] governors must attend every morning, in his turn, to enquire into the management of the hospital, and visit all the wards; asking the patients, one by one, whether they are well treated, and upon the least just complaint against any officer, he is immediately removed. The visitor also enquires if any thing be wanting, and whether any wounded patients have been received into the hospital, the preceding night; and every morning, an account of their admittance and condition, is drawn up by a Notary. To this hospital belong nine Physicians and four Surgeons, who all visit the patients three times a day, and administer medicines to the sick; the Surgeons indeed live in the hospital. The dispensary itself takes up a very large hall, where every afternoon the medicines are made up for the use of the following day. The prescriptions are regularly entered in a day-book, and, for preventing any accident or mis­take among such a variety of different medicines, every dose is marked with the number of the bed, and the name of the patient for whom it is designed.

The plaisters are made and spread, in a particu­lar apartment: to this hospital also belongs a very good physic-garden. For carrying off the filth, a canal or sink runs under every part of this edifice, and all the tradesmen employed by the hospital, live within its walls, as the baker, butcher, weaver, [Page 156] taylor, sempstress, and several others who have their respective shops; so that this hospital is as it were a little city, or republic within itself, having very little connexion with Milan. In the meadows be­longing to this hospital, are kept bullocks, sheep, &c. and by computation between 5 and 600 weight of butchers meat is daily consumed here, besides other eatables.

The number of patients generally exceeds 1500: the females are distributed into nine particular wards; the officers and servants, of all ranks, in this hospital, are reckoned to be 500. At the charge of the hos­pital, but at another place, are likewise maintained 300 idiots and lunatics, and also above 5000 found­lings. Some of these last are kept in the country, and others in the city, where they are brought up to handicraft trades. None but women of very good character are admitted as wet-nurses to these chil­dren. Two hours after sun-set, at the main entrance of the hospital, a kind of wicket is opened, within which is a copper machine, in the shape of an oven, which turns on an axis, and is large enough to con­tain a child of seven or eight years old. The ma­chine has a large aperture, which at night is turned towards the street; and mothers, who have been lately delivered, and are unable to bring up their children, send them here. The child being put [Page 157] into the machine, the person who brings it, turns it about, knocks at the gate and makes off; then the porter, who always sits up in the room, to which the open side of the machine is turned, receives the infant, and sends it to one of the nurses. Every such foundling is baptised, unless a note be left to signify that it has been done already. Formerly, unnatural or distressed parents used to lay down the infants at the gate, through which the wounded patients were conveyed in the night; so that often the poor children were deprived of their limbs, and sometimes lost their lives by some accident before they were found, and taken in. Four or five children are often brought to the hospital in one night, and seldom less than three. The apartments of the wet-nurses, and of all the other women be­longing to the hospital, are so contrived that no men can come among them, unless in the presence of those invested with some authority. The wet-nurses, when either the weakness or illness of the infants requires them to remain in the hospital, are allowed a bed-chamber, another for feeding the children, and a third for washing them. What institution in England have we to vie with this? None. In Ireland there is something similar to it, where numbers of children from the Welch and Lancashire coasts are daily sent to be educated and brought up; and yet how much more consequential [Page 158] do we conceive ourselves, than either the Milanese or the Irish.

The certain yearly income of this hospital amounts to 90 or 100,000 crowns. No country in the world, says Keysler, equals Italy in the care of the poor and sick; and if there be any fault in this particular, it is, perhaps, the want of due qualifi­cations in the physicians and surgeons.

La Charité, and that famous hospital in Paris, l'Hotel Dieu, says the above author, receive indeed a great number of patients, but nothing of the re­gularity and cleanliness of the Italian hospitals is to be seen there. Only the lower wards of the latter hospital have single beds for each patient, and these but few in number, and are paid for; most of the other beds are for two persons, who also lie one at the head and the other at the feet; and in many of the beds four patients lie in the same man­ner. In such a situation it must necessarily follow, that some patients who are on the mending hand, may be obliged to lie several hours with others who are in the agonies of death; and it is no very un­common case for the dead to lie an hour or longer among the living, especially if it should happen that the patient dies after ten o'clock at night.

[Page 159]Besides, the great hospital are several other foun­dations for the sick and poor. La Charité is a large building for the support of 200 orphans. St. Vincentis hospital for lunatics, has seldom less than 200 patients. In that of St. Celsus some hun­dreds of foundlings are provided for; and in St. Ambrose's hospital, aged persons, who are past their labour, are comfortably maintained. The Broglio hospital is the receptacle for such patients as are infected with venereal complaints, which in Italy are not only more frequent, but more shock­ing and terrible in their consequences than in other countries.

St. Stephen's Church is built on the spot where the first battle against the Arians is said to have been fought, with this addition, that St. Ambrose, being at a loss to distinguish the dead bodies of the orthodox from the heretics, ordered the latter to lie with their faces downwards to the earth, and the former to look up towards Heaven, which was immediately done. It is further related that the blood of the faithful, gathering together, conglo­merated into the form of a wheel, until it was to­tally absorbed by a hollow stone, over which a brass plate is placed on the ground; and opposite to it is a pillar with the figure of a wheel, and an inscrip­tion cut upon it in Latin, signifying that this wheel [Page 160] was set up as a memorial of a most bloody battle, fought between the Catholics and the Arians, when St. Ambrose was Bishop of Milan; by the preva­lency of whose prayers the blood of the orthodox that were slain, which ran promiscuously with the blood of the heretics, immediately coagulated in the form of a wheel, (separating what was sacred from the profane,) which gave the name of La Rota to this church, a name it still retains with that of St. Stephen's. The inscription further remarks, that the hollow stone, which lies opposite the wheel, absorbed the blood of the saints, which miraculously flowed to this place, and requesting the reader to adore the traces of this miracle and reverence its memory.

A few paces from St. Stephen's Church stands a chapel paved with several hundred skulls and bones of those that were slain in the abovementioned ac­tion, almost like the chapel of the 11000 virgins at Cologn. The bones constitute the ground work, and the skulls form the crosses with which it is inlaid: besides these, on each side of the altar, stands a pyramid of bones, secured with an iron grate, that none may fall down or be stolen.

Milan, like all very large cities, is of little strength, being only surrounded by a lined rampart. [Page 161] The Governor General of the Milanese resides at Milan, in a spacious but old and ill contrived palace, in which also is the theatre for operas and comedies. Mrs. Piozzi, speaking of the theatre in this city, which will hold 4000 persons, says, a receptacle so capacious to contain 4000 people, a place of en­trance so commodious to receive them, a show so princely, so very magnificent to entertain them, must be sought in vain out of Italy. The centre front box, richly adorned with gilding, arms, and trophies, is appropriated to the court, whose canopy is carried up, to what we call the first gallery, in England; the crescent of boxes, ending with the stage, consist of 19 on a side, small boudoirs, for such they seem; and are as such, fitted, up with silk hangings, girandoles, &c. and placed so judiciously, as to catch every sound of the singers, if they do but whisper; I will not say, remarks Mrs. Piozzi, it is equally advantageous to the figure as to the voice; no performers looking adequate to the place they recite upon; so very stately is the building itself, being of entire stone, with an immense portico, and stairs, which for width, a carriage might be drawn up. There is an immense sideboard at the first lobby, lighted and furnished with luxurious and elegant plenty; it being the fashion for many peo­ple to send for supper to their box, where they can entertain their friends with infinite convenience and [Page 162] splendour. A silk curtain defends the closet from intrusive eyes, when dropped down; and when drawn up, gives gaiety and shew to the general appear­ance of the whole; across the corridor, leading to these boxes, another small chamber, numbered like that it belongs to, is appropriated to the use of the servants, and furnished with every convenience to make chocolate, serve lemonade, &c.

CHAP. XVIII. People, Character, Customs, Manners, Diversions. &c.

THE fair sex, both of the highest and lowest rank at Milan, are but very indifferent in their persons, whereas the middling or trading class of people, affords a great many very pretty women: in dress and gallantry, they come very near the fashions and gallantry of Paris, indeed much nearer than in many of the provincial cities. At [Page 163] an opera, says Grosley, all the gay world is seen, and, to the greater advantage; as during the play, the ladies receive visits, and for this purpose, their boxes are illuminated and set off with looking-glasses, couches on every side, and sumptuous hang­ings. These boxes, which are hired by the year, may be close shut in the front, and very often, a small part only of them is open, that the play may less disturb the conversation.

There is no place in Italy, remarks Moore, (he adds, I perhaps might have said in Europe,) where strangers are received in such an easy, hospitable manner, as at Milan. Formerly the Milanese no­bility displayed a degree of splendour and muni­ficence, not only in their entertainments, but in their usual stile of living, unknown in any other country in Europe. They are under a necessity at present, of living at less expence; but they still shew the same obliging and hospitable disposition. This country having not very long since been pos­sessed by the French, from whom it devolved to the Spaniards, and from thence to the Germans; the troops of these nations, have at different pe­riods had their residence here, and in the course of these vicissitudes, produced a stile of manners, and stamped a character on the inhabitants of this Duchy, different from what prevails in any other [Page 164] part of Italy; and nice observers imagine they per­ceive in Milanese manners, the politeness, formality, and honesty imputed to these three nations, blended with the ingenuousness natural to the Italians. The company assembles every evening in their car­riages on the ramparts, and drive about in the same manner as in the other cities of Italy, till it is pretty late. In Italy the ladies have no notion of quit­ting their carriages, and using their legs as in Eng­land and France. On seeing the number of ser­vants, and the splendour of the equipages, which appear every evening at the Corso on the ramparts, one would not suspect the degree of depopulation and diminution of wealth, which we are assured has taken place within these few years all over the Milanese; and which is said, to proceed from the burthensome nature of some late taxes, and the insolent and oppressive manner in which they are gathered.

Keysler remarks that the vicissitudes this state has undergone, have introduced a much more social and free way of living than in the South parts of Italy; to this the fertility of the country, and wealth of the nobility, do not a little contribute. The ladies can hardly be under less restraint, even in France, than they are here. During the carnival, women of the first fashion are accustomed [Page 165] to give magnificent entertainments, even at public taverns; to avoid the inconvenience and charges, with which such entertainments would be attend­ed at their own houses. Their husbands seem per­fectly easy, with regard to their festivities, either from pusillanimity or a confidence in their virtue and discretion; and some are so passionately fond of their wives, as to grudge nothing that may con­tribute to their satisfaction and pleasure.

The woman of the lower class, imitate their bet­ters as near as they can, and indulge themselves in liberties, which in other parts of Italy are denied them; here also, as in Paris, trade is mostly ma­naged by women, who amuse themselves with sewing or embroidering; and the shops, though they are quite open, while the season permits, are the places of rendezvous, for a great deal of company. Even in convents the austerities of a monastic life are so far relaxed, that a traveller may not only talk, rally, and laugh with the nuns at the grate, but join in a concert with them, and spend a whole, afternoon in these familiarities.

The Lombards possess the skill to please, with­out feigning; and, so artless are their manners, they cannot even be suspected of insincerity. They have, perhaps, for that very reason, few comedies [Page 166] and fewer novels among them; for the worst of every man's character is already known to the rest; but be his conduct what it will, the heart is com­monly right enough, il buon cuor Lombardo, is famed throughout Italy, and nothing can become pro­verbial, without an excellent reason. Little oppor­tunity is therefore given to writers who carry the dark lanthorn of life into its deepest recesses—un­veil the hidden wickedness of a Maskwell or a Monkton—develope the folds of vice, and spy out the internal worthlessness of apparent virtue; which from these discerning eyes cannot be cloaked, even by that early taught affectation, which renders it a real ingenuity, to discover, if in a highly polished capital, a man or woman has or has not good parts or principles; so completely are the first overlaid with literature, and the last perverted by refine­ment.

No house-account, no weekly bills perplex the peace of a Milanese lady of fashion. If eight servants are kept, suppose six of these men, (and two of them out of livery,) the pay of these principal figures in the family when, at the highest rate, is fifteen pence English a day, out of which they find cloaths, and eating. The dinners drest at home, are, for this reason, more exactly contrived than in England, to suit the number of guests, [Page 167] and there are always half a dozen; for dining alone, or the master and mistress téte-a-téte, as we do, is unknown to them, who make society very easy, and resolve to live much together. No odd sensation then, something like shame, such as we feel when too many dishes are taken empty from table, touches them at all; the common courses are 11, and a 11 small plates, and it is their sport and pleasure, if possible, to clear all away. A foot­man's wages is a shilling a day, like our common labourers, and paid him, as they are paid, every Saturday night. His livery in the mean time, changed twice a year, makes him as rich a man as the butler or valet, but when evening comes, it is the most comical sight in the world, to see them all go gravely home, and a person may die in the night for want of help, though surrounded by showy attendants all day. Till the hour of depar­ture it is expected that two or three of them at least, sit in the anti-chamber to answer the bell, which is no flight service, or hardship; for the stairs, high and wide as those of Windsor palace, run up from the door immediately to that apartment, which is very large and very cold, with bricks only to set their feet on, and a brazier filled with warm wood ashes, to keep their fingers from freezing. In summer these gentry employ their time in cards, which they seem but little inclined to lay down [Page 168] when ladies pass through to the receiving room. The strange familiarity this class of people assume, half joining in the conversation, and crying oibo, or oh dear! when their master affirms something to which they do not quite assent, is apt to shock one in the beginning; the more when one reflects upon the equally offensive humility they shew, on being first accepted into the family; when it is ex­pected that they receive the new master or lady's hand, in a half kneeling posture, and kiss it as wo­men under the rank of Countess, do the Queen of England, when presented at our court. This ob­sequiousness however, vanishes completely upon acquaintance, and the footman if not very, seriously admonished, yawns, spits, and displays, says Mrs. Piozzi, what one of our travel-writers emphati­cally calls, his flag of abomination, behind the chair of a woman of quality, without the slightest sensation of its impropriety. There is, however, a sort of odd farcical drollery mingled with this grossness, which tends greatly to disarm ones wrath; and I felt myself more inclined to laugh than be angry, when from the head of my own table I saw the servant of a nobleman cramming some chicken pattés down his throat behind the door, our own folks humourously trying to choak him, by pretend­ing his Lord called him, while his mouth was full. Of a thousand comical things in the same way, [Page 145] says the above lady, I will relate one. Mr. Piozzi's valet was dressing my hair one morning at Paris, while some man sate at an opposite window of the same inn, singing and playing upon the violincello, I had observed the circumstance, but my perruc­chieres distress was evident; he writhed and twisted about like a man pinched with the cholic, and made a hundred queer faces; at last—What is the matter Ercolani, said I, are you not well? Mistress, replied the fellow, if that beast don't leave off soon I shall run mad with rage, or die; and so you'll see an honest Venetian lad killed by a French dog's howling.

The phrase of mistress is here not confined to servants at all; gentlemen, when they address a lady, say mia padrona, mighty sweetly, and in a peculiar pleasing tone. Nothing can exceed, says Mrs. P. the agreeableness of a well-bred Italian's address, when speaking to a lady, whom they alone know how to flatter, so as to retain her dignity, and not lose their own; respectful, yet tender; attentive, but not officious; the politeness of a man of fashion here is true politeness, free from all affectation, and honestly expressive of what he really feels, a true value for the person spoken to, without the smallest desire of shining himself; equally removed from foppery on one side, and indifference on the other. [Page 168] [...] [Page 145] [...] [Page 146] The manners of the men here are certainly pleasing, in a very eminent degree, and in their conversation there is a mixture, not unfrequent too, of classical allusions, which strikes one with a sort of literary pleasure, not easily to be described. Yet is there no pedantry in their use of expressions, which with us would be laughable, or liable to censure; but Roman notions are not quite extinct; and even the house-maid, or Donna di gros, as they call her, swears by Diana so comically there is no expressing it. They christen very commonly their boys Fa­bius, and their daughters Claudia.

Their uniformity of dress here pleases the eye, and the custom of going veiled to church, and al­ways without a hat, which they consider as a pro­fanation of the temple, as they call it, delights one much; it has an air of decency in the individuals, of general respect for the place, and of a resolution not to let external images intrude on devout thoughts.

Though family connexions are prized very highly here, no man seems ashamed that he has no family to boast: all seigning indeed would be useless and im­practicable; yet it strikes one with astonishment to hear a well-bred clergyman say, gravely to his friend, and that friend eminent both for talent and for­tune, [Page 147] "Yes, there is a grand invitation at such a place to night, but I do not go because non sono cavaliere, and the master desired me to let you know that it was for no other reason you had not a card too, my good friend; for it is an invitation for none but the nobles." At all this no one stares, says Mrs. P. no one laughs, and no ones throat is cut in consequence of their sincere declarations.

The women, says the above lady, are not behind hand in openness of confidence, and what Mrs. P. calls comical sincerity. We have all heard much of Italian Cicisbeism, says she, and having a mind to know how matters really stood, I took the shortest way to information, by asking a mighty beautiful and apparently young creature how that affair was managed, for there is no harm done, I am sure, said I. Why no, replied she, no great harm to be sure, except wearisome attentions from a man one cares little about; for my own part, continued she, I detest the custom, as I happen to love my husband excessively, and desire no ones company in the world but his. We are not people of fashion, though you know, nor at all rich; so how should we set fashions for our betters? They would only say, see how jealous he is! if my husband sat much with me at home, or went with me to the Corso; and I must go with some gentleman you know: [Page 148] and the men are such ungenerous creatures, and have such ways with them:—I want money often, and this cavaliere servante pays the bills, and so the connection draws closer—that's all. And your husband! said I,—Oh, why he likes to see me well dressed; he is very good-natured, and very charm­ing; I love him to my heart. And your confessor! cried I.—Oh, why he is used to it; in the Milanese dialect é assuefaà.

Were the crust of British affectation lifted off many a character at home, I know not whether better, that is, honester hearts would be found under it, than that of this pretty girl.

Ladies of distinction bring with them when they marry, besides fortune, as many cloaths as will last them seven years; for fashions do not change here as often as at London, or Paris; yet is pin-money allowed, and an attention paid to the wife that no Englishwoman can form an idea of: in every fa­mily her duties are few; for household management falls to the masters share of course, when almost all the servants are men, and those paid by the week or day. Children are very seldom seen by those who visit great houses; if they do come down for five minutes after dinner, the parents are talked of as doting on them, and nothing can equal the pious [Page 149] and tender returns made to fathers and mothers in this country, for even an apparently moderate share of fondness shewn to them in a state of infancy.

A woman here, in every stage of life, has a degree of attention shewn her that is surprising—if conju­gal disputes arise in a family, so as to make them become what is called the town-talk, the public voice is sure to run against the husband; if separa­tion ensues, all possible countenance is given to the wife, while the gentleman is somewhat less willingly received, and all the stories of disgust related to his prejudice; nor will the lady, whom he wishes to serve, look very kindly on a man who treats his own wife with unpoliteness. Che cuore deve avere! says she; what a heart must he have! Io non mene fido sicuro. I shall take care not to trust him.

The ordinary people in Lombardy are well cloathed, fat, stout, and merry; and desirous to divert themselves, and their protectors, whom they love at their hearts. There is however a degree of effrontery among the women that seems amazing; and of which, says Mrs. P. I had no idea, till a friend shewed me, one evening at the opera, 50 or 100 petty shop-keepers wives, dispersed about the pit, and dressed in mens cloaths, per disempagno, that they might be more at liberty to clap, hiss, [Page 150] quarrel, jostle, &c. In this city, however, no fe­male professors of immorality and open libertinage, disgraceful at once and pernicious to society, are permitted to range the streets in quest of prey, to the horror of all thinking people, and the ruin of all heedless ones.

In most of the Milanese inns, however, according to Keysler, a young traveller seldom escapes being asked whether he is for a letto fornito, the mean­ing of which is a female bed-fellow, who never unmasks till she comes into the bed-chamber. Besides the sin, which alas! is little regarded, to what an extreme risque is his health thus exposed, while it depends upon the scandalous choice of the mercenary cameriere or the landlord.

CHAP. XIX. Commerce, &c.

MILAN is to this day the centre of a com­merce requiring large capitals, and which some of the wealthiest houses have engrossed as a [Page 151] clandestine company. Its principal article is raw silk. The company forestalls this at the time of the crop, from cottage to cottage, and sometimes before. Private houses carrying on this trade, in­dependent of the company, find it to their advan­tage to sell their silk according to the price regu­lated by the company. All competition being thus quashed and ruined, and the silk-cultivator, obliged to accept what price the buyers fix, turns his indus­try to more profitable objects: instead therefore of new plantations and new improvements, the old are neglected and run to ruin.

The chief of the Milan manufactures are gold and silver laces, embroideries in gold and silver, tinsel and thread laces, these are chiefly kept up by the Italian sobriety, the low price of provisions, and consequently the low price of work.

This city also vends a prodigious quantity of silk handkerchiefs, excellently manufactured; and by the Italians accounted an approved amulet against sore throats, which from the moistness of the air are very common in Lombardy. These handkerchiefs are part of the dishabille of the princes and noble­men; but the trading or lower people are never without them at home or abroad. In the summer­time they have them waving on their shoulders, [Page 152] and use them to wipe the sweat from their faces; but in the morning and evening they take them in, and tie them very close and carefully round their necks.

They have also a large manufacture of crystal, which is found, with great risque, in the Alps, and is made into snuff-boxes, lustres, looking-glasses, &c. The largest looking-glass that was ever made of one piece of crystal, is a foot in breadth, and a foot and an half in length. At Milan also, as at Bologna and Verona, most curious artificial flowers are made of paper, wax, feathers, cotton, sturgeons skin, exactly resembling nature, and in this art the nuns particularly excel.

It is observable that in this large city gun-pow­der is sold only in one place, and by one person.

The customs and duties are no where on so bad a footing as at Milan; a small gratuity to the of­ficers who importunately ask it, puts an end to all farther search and questions; whereas, in Piedmont the extreme severity on this head often puts travel­lers to a great deal of unnecessary delay and trouble.

Milan being by its situation the natural staple of Switzerland, part of Germany, France, and [Page 153] Italy, the distribution of all the goods to be con­veyed from one of these countries into another, makes a secondary branch of business with several houses. All goods going from France and Switzer­land are carried on mules; and what is sent from Milan into the internal parts of Italy goes by water. The most valuable goods are carried in chaises or cambiaturas, these carriages are of such construc­tion, and hung so that they carry a great deal be­hind, without any inconvenience to the horses. The waggoners, who swarm on the great roads of France, are in Italy employed only in carrying the baggage of the cardinals, or other great men, who have occasion to pass through the country. The many charges attending any kind of transportation constitutes the riches of the Milan brokers; and their interest being likely to be affected by it, is the chief obstacle to the setting up of waggons in Italy; the danger of the roads is the pretended ob­stacle; but why should roads be more dangerous for five or six waggoners travelling in company than for as many chaises?

Another branch of trade is the furnishing travel­lers with carriages, and this city lays most of them, even the most cautious, more or less under contri­bution; they are told that only crossing the Alps ruins a carriage, that the French post-chaises, [Page 154] either in winter or summer, will not do for the roads of Italy, and that they require a chaise so contrived as to be taken to pieces and put together in an instant, and by any persons; now the Milan carriages, besides those conveniences, are both light and strong, the wood and leather of a good quality, together with the advantage of carrying a great deal without overloading the horses.

Lastly, the produce of the rice-grounds, in the Milanese, is very considerable. The rice grows in fields all under water, which rises with the plant, so that during the whole time of its growth only the top appears above water. The numberless ca­nals which intersect Lombardy, induce the landed men to this culture, which indeed has been carried so far that all the Milanese is like to become one rice-ground, that is one continual fen; unless go­vernment puts some limitation to this culture; ex­perience having shewn the noxious effects of the air from rice-grounds, and which daily become more noxious from their vast increase. Even in times when these grounds were but thinly scattered, the villages, which lay north or east of them, were every year visited with some contagious disease; and the greater part of the peasants employed in this culture become dropsical, and die before they reach forty.

[Page 155]The regular forces now in this duchy amounts to eighteen thousand men, the greatest part of whose cloathing, arms, and other necessaries, come from Germany, to the no small discontent of the Mila­nese, who think it hard that as the money for the payment of these troops is raised among them, it should not again be laid out and circulated in their country.

The city council is composed of a president and sixty members, all nobles, and independent of the Governor. The Spaniards are said, in peaceable times, to have raised two millions of dollars in the Milanese.

In the Milanese territories justice is administered by the Roman law, with some modification of cus­toms and statutes. Most of these statutes are of the reign of the good King Lewis XII. whose name they accordingly bear. These statutes in succession have established the law of equality, which the no­bility itself can elude only by entails, or the acqui­sition of lands in countries, where this law is not in force.

Since Milan has been governed only by a secon­dary authority, justice has lost much of that vigour, which the sovereigns presence generally secures to [Page 156] it. Despair, and oftentimes an impossibility of ob­taining it, puts people on doing themselves justice. The magistrate winks at the effects of private ven­geance, and confines himself to the prohibition of stillettos and pocket-pistols. The dispatch and impartiality in which justice is rendered in France, and the northern states, remove all apprehensions from such weapons, which in any country where justice shall become venal, tedious or expensive, would be as common as in Italy.

CHAP. XX. The Duchy of Mantua.

THIS duchy, encompassed by those of Milan and Modena, the territories of the Pope and the Venetians, is not more than between 50 and 60 miles in extent, and about 40 in breadth.

[Page 157]It formerly had dukes of its own, but since the commencement of this century, the Imperialists over-run the whole duchy, which has ever since been in possession of the House of Austria, and is at present annexed to the Milanese government.

This duchy abounds in corn, fruit, flax, silk, and cattle. The soil is extremely fertile, but its depth and softness occasions the roads to be almost im­passable in winter. In summer the verdure of the fields and meadows, divided by beautiful rows of trees, with abundances of vines twining round the trunks and branches, renders travelling delightful. The great number of nightingales that frequent this tract of land by their plaintive warblings, makes the charming scene still more enchanting. Indeed, says Keysler, a person who makes any stay in Italy is so accustomed to fine prospects and enchanting land-scapes, that in time they grow familiar to the eye, and are less regarded than when they first pre­sented themselves to view.

Mantua, the capital of the duchy, lies on a lake formed by the inundation of the Mincio, which is 20 miles in circumference, and two broad. The two chief bridges leading to this city are defended by citadels, with fortifications at both ends. The city is divided by the water into two almost equal [Page 158] parts, having a communication with each other over six bridges, and is about four miles in circum­ference. In the heat of summer, when the lake is low and stagnate, the air becomes so noxious that the better sort of inhabitants retire into the country. The greater part of the streets are long, broad, and strait, with handsome stone houses, and stately churches. The population is estimated only at 20,000. Seven thousand Jews occupy a third part of the city, have a synogogue, and live after their own fashion. The population was formerly com­puted at 50,000, exclusive of the garrison; but since there has been no court kept here, the number of inhabitants has been gradually decreasing. What contributes most to keep the city alive at present, is its annual fair, which is very much resorted to. The theatres are very beautiful, and the small one especially is on an elegant plan.

There are 18 parish churches at Mantua, and 14 convents. The cathedral is spacious, and has five aisles. Guilio Romano was the architect, and also painted the tribuna, with a part of the ceiling. In the upper sacristy is a night-piece of the temptation of S. Antony, by Paola Veronese. The church of S. Antony is more famous for relics than any in Mantua; a considerable portion, as is pretended, of the blood of Christ, being kept in a subterra­neous [Page 159] chapel, and once every year shewn to the people.

The ducal gallery and museum, formerly so fa­mous, was pillaged by the soldiers, when the Im­perialists took the city, by storm. At that time a common soldier was so lucky as to get a booty of 80,000 ducats; but so bad an economist as to game it all away in one night, for which Colalto, the Im­perial general, hanged him the next day. Some apartments in the castle are still worth seeing, the ceiling being painted, by J. Guilio Romano.

Mantua is an episcopal see, immediately depen­dent on the Pope. The silk and other manufactures, with its general commerce, formerly so flourishing, says Busching, are now but inconsiderable.

About two miles from this city is La Virgiliana, a ducal manor-house, so called from the grotto where Virgil is said to have passed the studious hours of his youthful days.

CHAP. XXI. The Duchies of Parma and Placentia.

THESE have always been united. To the north and the west they terminate on the Milanese, to the south on the Genoese territories; and to the cast on the Duchy of Modena. They are between 50 and 60 miles in length, and nearly as much in breadth.

The soil is exceedingly fertile, especially in the production of olive-trees, large trufles, and ches­nuts. The pastures and cattle are also very fine particularly about Placentia, where the meadows can be laid under water from a small river, with a slimy water which fertilizes the ground. The cele­brated Parmesan cheese is no longer made in this country; but rather at Lode, Bologna, and some other parts. The two principal cities in these tetri­tories are Parma and Placentia.

Parma is a large populous city, with spacious streets, and a great number of handsome houses, [Page 161] which the Italians dignify, according to custom, with the name of palaces. The little river, Parma, which falls into the Po, a few miles below the city, divides it into two parts, communicating with each other by three stone bridges. Its circuit is about four Italian miles; the citadel very much resembles that of Antwerp.

The ducal palace, which has nothing very strik­ing in its architecture, lies on the south side of the town, and has a communication with the citadel over a bridge. The gallery, formerly so remarkable for its inestimable collection of paintings, medals, antiquities, and other curiosities, together with the library, was stripped by the late King of Spain, when he came to take possession of this duchy, and every thing of value removed to Naples, where it still lays in confusion at Capo de Monte; so that the object most worthy of notice, in this city, is the great theatre, built by Duke Renatus, in 1618. This theatre is said to be the largest of any in Europe, and capable of holding, according to La Lande, 12,000 persons. It is built in the form of the Roman am­phitheatre. What is very singular in its construc­tion, and, which, though remarked by every one, no person has yet been able to account for, is, that a word spoken ever so low on the stage, may be distinctly heard in every part of the pit, and yet [Page 162] the greatest elevation of the voice, says Addison, occasions no echo, to cause in it the least confusion.

The illumination of this theatre being very ex­pensive, a smaller one has been erected for com­mon use, in a saloon adjoining to it; and this has a pit large enough to contain 2000 spectators.

The gardens of the palace are admired for the grottos, fountains, cascades, walks, statues, and other embellishments.

Besides the university erected by Duke Rainu­tius I. in 1599, he also founded, in 1601, an aca­demy for persons of noble families, in which young students from their childhood are instructed, not only in grammar, the classics, rhetoric, philosophy, mathematics, geography, history, divinity, the civil, feodal, and canon laws; but, likewise in the Ger­man, French, and Spanish languages; in music, painting, fortification, dancing, fencing, vaulting, and riding. The annual allowance to each student for board, lodging, and tuition, is about 25 pounds a year. The riding-school is furnished with horses from the duke's stables. The foundation admits of 250 students. Youths of all nations are received here indiscriminately; but with regard to birth, they [Page 163] must be noble, and such as are capable of being admitted among the knights of Malta.

The morning lectures generally take up two hours and a half; and those of the afternoon about three. The students are divided into classes of 10 or 13; each of which has a servant and a monitor, who must be an ecclesiastic. When they walk about the city, the students are dressed in black; but in hunting, and during the festivities, in autumn, they are allowed to wear cloaths of any colour. That student who signalizes himself most by his exercises, is stiled Principe, and has a particular respect paid him by the rest. He also wears a medal hanging to a purple ribbon, with a silver border, on his breast.

There are two elegant theatres in the college, in one of which the students act plays during the car­nival. The autumn vacation they spend at one of the duke's country seats, in fishing, hunting, and other innocent pastimes; but under the care of proper directors; nor are their studies entirely laid aside during this season. The duke and the prin­cipal nobility of the city lend their coaches and horses to carry the students into the country; and at the expiration of the time allotted them, they are brought back in the same manner.

[Page 164]The situation of Parma, says Grossley, is delight­ful; and the paintings in its public edifices afford most exquisite entertainment; being filled with master-pieces of art, by Corregio, his rivals, and disciples.

The assumption, in the cupola of the dome, cost that immortal artist his life. Having given him­self up to the force of his imagination, he hazarded some bold flights, which are the astonishment and admiration of the greatest masters of our days, but displeased the canons, who had bespoke the piece. Though the price was but slender, they would have it that they had been imposed upon; and, besides an arbitrary deduction, they paid him the remainder in copper, which poor Corregio was forced to take on his back, and carry six or seven miles to an old country-house, where he had his workshop. The incumbrance of the burthen, the heat of the day, and the distance, together with the indignation and fretfulness at being so deceived, brought on a pleu­risy, of which he died three days after, at the age of forty.

The cathedral and several other churches, in Parma, are covered with frescos, by this artist. Those of the cathedral represent virtues personated by women, in attitudes very elegantly varied. [Page 165] These figures are attired, but without hiding any stroke of nudity, and exhibit more graces than seem to comport with the sanctity of the edifice.

In one of the chapels was formerly that piece so much the admiration of connoisseurs, and in which Corregio is said to have surpassed himself: It is a holy family with S. Jerome, and Mary Magdalen grouped into it. The Farnesian princes shewing a strong desire to add this piece to their immense col­lection, the canons took it down, and conveying it privately from one to another, secreted it for 40 years and more from the scrutinizing eyes of the different sovereigns. On the demise of Anthony, the last Duke, they placed it among the most valuable curiosities of their treasury, where it is now again visible.

This picture is an assemblage of beauties, engag­ing to every eye; it speaks to the mind in its ex­pression, delicacy, and action; and to the heart in its graces, softness, and tenderness, which are strik­ing even in the most minute circumstances. Innu­merable copies have been made of this sublime performance; and though by the most capital ar­tists, yet not one of them has been able to take the smile, which the Virgin Mary has on her counte­nance; [Page 166] in most of these copies it degenerates into a sneer.

The fashion of Cicesbeios, says L. Miller, is not banished the polite societies of Parma; for the sole object of contracting marriage here, as in France, is interest. Young ladies at Parma are educated in convents, and brought out to be married when their parents have provided them a husband. The chu­sing for themselves is unheard of, and would be esteemed the most enormous licentiousness. For which reason the state deemed here the most happy, is that of a young rich widow.

The nobility of this place have a cassino in which they assemble generally three times a week during the cessation of theatrical amusements. The Duke provides the cards and lights, and two of his gen­tlemen do the honours of the cassino. He some­times honours the meeting himself with his presence and plays. This is a very economical, as well as a very agreeable amusement, in a country where the noblesse are not used to have assemblies at their own houses, and where the expence would be very incon­venient to them.

The cabinet of medals (since removed to Naples) consists of 18,000 pieces, all of different dies; [Page 167] though there are no fewer than 500 hundred of the Emperor Adrian. Over every medal is a little ticket, with black letters on a gold ground, shew­ing on what occasion it was struck, &c. These medals are inserted in copper rims glazed, so that by turning them, the reverse may be viewed with­out taking them out of the sockets. This collec­tion comes no lower down than the reign of Hera­clius; but the finis is continued in gold, silver, and copper pieces.

The distance from Parma to Placentia is about 33 English miles. About five miles from Parma is a ferry over the river Taro. This river is some­times very dangerous to pass. What renders it so is its being swelled with heavy rains, which form­ing impetuous torrents, force their way through a light soil, and overflowing the banks of the river, form an unequal bed very difficult to ford, from the uncertainty of the bottom. This is the case with many of the rivers in Italy; and to comprehend how true it is that the Italian rivers suddenly change their bed, one may perceive the vestiges of them now dry, which shew the force of the body of wa­ter that has excavated vast precipices and pits; to­gether with a great quantity of stone and sand, that the water has brought down and thrown up into ridges. This change of the course of rivers fre­quently [Page 168] happens in one night, as the people of the country affirm. A river fordable over-night, has by the next morning been so increased, from the addition of mountain torrents, as to render it im­passable; and shortly after, has shifted its place, leaving its old course in heaps of rubbish and deep hollows.

At a little distance from the passage over the Taro, are the two castles Guelfo and Gibellino. Both these castles derive their names from the two factions, the Guelphs and Gibellines, by which Germany and Italy were for a long time made a scene of slaughter and confusion.

The whole of the country, between Piacenza and Parma, is a dead flat; the soil is exceedingly rich; the ground well cultivated, and planted with strait rows of elms, at about the distance of 12 or 14 yards asunder. These form the most delightful vistas imaginable, and what adds greatly to their beautiful appearance is, that the vines, sustained by the elms, are conducted from tree to tree, forming the most graceful festoons. The ilex and the mul­berry-tree are frequently planted for the support of the vine, as the elms are, and make a most agree­able variety. Between these rows of trees, the corn flourishes in the utmost luxuriance.

[Page 169]Placentia by its situation, the breadth and regu­larity of its streets and squares, the architecture of its palaces and public edifices, its noble paintings and sculptures, and the fountains, that are such em­bellishments to these squares and edifices, would be one of the finest cities in all Lombardy, did not a want of inhabitants deprive it of the principal or­nament that a city can boast. It lies within 200 yards of the Po.

The cathedral and most of the churches are em­bellished with paintings of the greatest masters of the Bologna school. But what travellers most ad­mire, are two equestrian statues, in bronze, which stand in the great square, before the town-house.

The best of the two represents that consummate general Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma and Pla­centia, who commanded the army of Philip II. in the Netherlands. The inscription, on the pedestal, mentions his having relieved the city of Paris, when called to the assistance of the league into France, where his great military skill, and cool in­trepidity, enabled him to baffle all the ardent im­petuosity of the gallant Henry. He was certainly worthy of a better master, and of serving in a better cause. We cannot, without regret, behold a prince of the Duke of Parma's talents and character, sup­porting [Page 170] the pride of an unrelenting tyrant, and the cause of furious fanatics.

Except the ducal palace, and some pictures in the churches, it does not appear that there is a great deal in this city worthy of attention.

On the fifth of April, the annual fair commences here, which is reckoned the largest in all Italy. It lasts a fortnight. The stands and booths occupy a very large area, near the ducal palace, laid out in regular lanes or passages, which are covered with canvass, as a shelter both against rain and the heat of the sun. The principal entertainment, during this season of bustle, is the Opera, the admission into the pit of which costs only six-pence. The first singers in Italy are engaged to perform in it. One inconvenience attending the performance to those not accustomed to late hours is, that it does not begin till ten o'clock at night, and finishes about four in the morning.

Piacenza has given birth to some famous men; one of the most remarkable is the Cardinal Alberoni, who was many years prime minister at the court of Spain: he was born in 1664, in a miserable cottage belonging to the suburbs: his father was a gardener, but so poor as to earn his bread by working in the [Page 171] little gardens belonging to the citizens: however, in process of time, he contrived so to push his for­tune as to procure himself a small cure, which was to him then the utmost pinnacle of human felicity. The Duke de Vendome accidently coming to the sight of him took a fancy to him, made him his chief aid-du-camp, secretary, confident, &c. From thence he rose to be cardinal and prime minister of Spain. His ambition afterwards became his ruin, and constrained Philip to disgrace and banish him.

After his fall he returned back to Piacenza where so much ashamed was he of his birth, as never to have assisted, nor even acknowledge, any of his re­lations, during his life nor at his death. He here lived in a private manner, and did no public or pri­vate acts of charity, unless the establishment of a number of missionaries may be deemed as such. He was considerably past eighty years old when he died. In the year 1746, he had the mortification to see his seminary battered by all the Spanish and Genoese artillery, which did not leave a single wall standing. On the Austrians taking possession of his. seminary, he withdrew to Piacenza in an apartment, the whole furniture of which was a bed, a table, and four chairs, where, says Grossley, a friend of mine saw him with a little pot boiling in the chimney, over the small fire of an apricot tree, cut that very [Page 172] day in the court-yard of the house, to which his apartment belonged; neither his money nor his in­terest having been able to procure him a faggot.

The cardinal was, at that time, above fourscore, yet without any of the infirmities of old age. He spoke Italian, French, or Spanish, according to the affairs or persons he was talking of; and in these three languages expressed himself with equal energy and vivacity; his reflections he usually backed with some maxims of Tacitus, which he always quoted in Latin.

The excellence of the Parmesan cheese, so cele­brated at all the elegant tables in Europe, proceeds from the excellent pastures in this country; parti­cularly those about Placentia, where the meadows may be watered during the whole summer at plea­sure, by means of sluices which convey water from the Po. Besides the waters of that river are im­pregnated with a slimy substance, which proves a very good manure to the grounds that they over­flow. The cows here yield an uncommon quantity of milk, so that in a good season the milk of fifty cows will make a rich cheese of a hundred weight every day. But within a few miles of this fertile track of land, which does not extend above ten Italian miles in length, the cows do not yield such [Page 173] plenty of milk as they do in the Parmesan: nor is it so rich. But as in Germany great quantities of Dutch cheeses are sold which never were in Hol­land, so likewise many thousand pounds of cheese made in Lodi, Bologna, &c. pass under the name of Parmesan; especially as the Milanese peasants about Lodi, have the like advantage of watering their meadows so as to mow them four or five times a year. There are three kinds of Parmesan cheese: and it is in its greatest perfection when it is three or four years old; and that which crumbles, in cut­ting, is reckoned the best.

At Vianino, near the Apennine mountains, a very palatable cheese is made of sheeps milk.

The peasants in this duchy appear gay, and not poor; the women are very prettily dressed, wearing small straw hats, ornamented with knots of ribbon of various colours, with a bunch of flowers over all, or a large black feather; and sometimes covering the crown of the hat with a bit of fine fur, which produces a singular effect. By this means of dres­sing, they have a fine air of the head; and being generally well made and handsome, or rather of sensible and agreeable countenances, their appear­ance is very different from that of any other pea­sants.

[Page 174]By the laws of Placentia, children share equally, even in noble inheritance. This equality being the palladium of democratical states, and the sinew of industry in commercial towns, might suit Placentia before it came under the dominion of the Farnese family; but since that aera, the manufactures being decayed, and the nobility having given over com­merce, this equallity, by sub-dividing the fortunes of the nobility ad infinitum, has deprived the country of that resource which it would have found in the easy circumstances of the nobles, and filled the country with a race of counts and titled slaves, whose dignity is of little weight, without the additional support of wealth.

The inquisition is now suppressed in this duchy, and the churches now no longer afford an asylum to robbers and murderers. Assassinations and rob­beries which were formerly very frequent, are now in consequence, become very rare. What seems singular is, that the former, according to Lady Miller, are not always punished with death, unless the provocation has been of considerable standing, and then pardon seldom follows; but if a man is killed through a gust of sudden passion, the galleys or long imprisonment is generally the punishment. They discourage as much as possible, both in Parma and Placentia, all women of the profession of street [Page 175] walkers, an inn-keeper being punishable for suffer­ing them to lodge in his house. The Governor of Placentia is extremely vigilant in regard to them, and as soon as they are discovered, has them driven out of the town.

The police in both these cities, strictly examine all those who enter or go out of them. They not only take down the name, from whence they came, and whither they are going, but likewise make a short description of their person, so that a person may be known by it. They are so clever at this, that the shortest time is sufficient for their pur­pose.

The Commis of the gates having taken the names, descriptions, and number of persons, not excepting the servants, enter them at a bureau or office for that purpose. The inn-keeper also takes the names down, and sends them to the same bureau, where if the entry made at the gate, does not tally with that sent from the inn, a bustle immediately ensues, and an examination into the mistake.

We are told, that an English gentleman, tired of repeating his name so often, by way of fun, chose to vary it, and said he was called Punchinello; this gave such an alarm to the police, that he was pursued, [Page 176] taken, and imprisoned; it was at S. Marino, where he remained, till one of our English residents being apprized of his mauvaise plaisanterie, cleared up the matter, and procured his enlargement.

The revenues of the Duke of Parma, are computed at between 5 or 600,000 crowns. It is said, the salt works alone, all charges deducted, yield above 50,000. They are carried on at Salso, about 24 miles from Parma, where there are 12 wells or pits of salt water, which are above 200 ells in depth.

CHAP. XXXII. Of the Dukedom of Modena.

The dukedom of Modena, surrounded by the duchies of Parma and Mantua, the ecclesiastical territories, the duchy of Florence, and the republic of Lucca, is 56 miles in extent from north to south, and from east to west, between 24 and 36.

[Page 177]The territory of this duchy, is a fertile plain, wa­tered by the Po, the Panaro, the Secchia, and Lenza, and every where planted in almost a continual quincunx, with stately elms, and on each, one or two large vines. The extremities of these spreading vines, reaching so as to be interlaced, form in every interval an ample garland, the natural pro­minence of which, in the middle, probably gave the first hint of those garlands or festoons among the ornaments of architecture.

It has been a custom among the vintagers, time out of mind, when they are gathering grapes off these trees near a road, to salute all passengers, with­out any regard to sex or rank, with every species of foul language and ribaldry, used in the most aban­doned places. An omission of these vociferations would be accounted a neglect of their privileges; and even those who at other times are discrete and well behaved, conform to this custom; which may be traced back, even to the time of Horace, who describes one of these foul-tongued vintagers.

The inhabitants have a method of preserving ripe grapes from the vintage, till the month of August in the following year, by keeping them in little rooms, well secured against the external air, and the light of the sun, and they never go into these store-rooms [Page 178] but with one small candle, and that as sel­dom as possible. The bunches are not laid upon the floor but hang separate, being tied to a great number of small sticks; and when a single grape has the least appearance of decay or rottenness, it is plucked off to prevent the rest from the infec­tion.

The horned cattle of this country are very large, and generally white. Six or eight oxen are here put to a carriage, with a great number of bells hang­ing about them, which make no disagreeable noise. The design of this sound is to cheer the creatures under their labour, and to give notice at a distance on the road that such a carriage is coming.

This duchy abounds not only in excellent wine, but in corn, garden-fruits, and other productions. In some parts, particularly near Reggio, is found an excellent alkaline earth, which, being pulverized, is used as a sovereign remedy against poison, fevers, dysenteries, and hypocondriac disorders.

The soil of the country, about Modena, says Keysler, is of a singular constitution, and well de­serves the attention of the curious naturalist. It gives no small weight to the opinion, that petrefactions are chiefly owing to the universal deluge. In every [Page 179] part, not only of the city, but of the adjacent coun­try, plenty of good water is to be found; but the ground must be dug to the depth of 63 feet. For the first 14 feet are found large stones, which seem to be the remains of paved streets and buildings; and from hence there is sufficient reason to con­clude, that the foundations of this city were an­ciently much lower than they are at present. In the lowest stratum, next the water, are found sea-shells, and other indications of an inundation and deluge. This stratum is very firm; and by only boring a little way into it, great plenty of good water immediately springs up. In some of the in­termediate strata are found rushes, leaves of plants, and branches of trees.

Modena, the capital, is situated agreeably in a plain; it is well built, and ornamented with foun­tains and arcades, which are really noble to walk under, in all the principal streets. The churches are, for the most part, in a bad taste. There is a public library well furnished with useful, though not with very curious books, and a most comfortable and elegant public room to study in. The number of inhabitants in this city are estimated at 23,000.

The ducal palace is by much the finest edifice here; it stands alone in a great piazza, and in the [Page 180] best quarter of the town. The architecture is both majestic and elegant; the architect was Avanzini. The court is spacious, and surrounded by colonades, which have a fine effect. The great stair-case is in a noble stile of architecture, and makes a striking appearance. The palace is full of very fine pic­tures, which to the majority of our readers, would be tedious to enumerate.

The duke chiefly takes up his residence at Milan: his partiality to the English is so great that even when at Modena he permits them to see the palace at any hour they think proper, without previous no­tice, and quite undressed; even boots are not ob­jected to: this is an exclusive privilege.

The troops of Modena are well dressed, and make a good appearance; they parade about with a strong band of music, consisting of drums, fifes, hautboys, and French-horns. The Duke is said to have 8000 men in constant array, and that upon occasion he can bring 20,000 men into the field.

The most illustrious families are the houses of Rangoni and Montecuculli. There are no remains of the families of those petty tyrants who governed Modena before the house of Est were chosen for their sovereigns.

[Page 181]The Modenese seem a gay chearful people; have much genius for pantomine shows, and what is called pleasure, or rather dissipation. They are esteemed gallant, and the ladies, and other females much inclined to coquetry. The noblesse imitate the French in their dress. The bourgeoise univer­sally wear the zendalet, a piece of black silk, with which they cover their heads; and which, crossing before, is finally tied behind their waists.

The principal employment of the lower class of people in this city, consists in making masks, for which they are more famous than in any other part of Italy. What little trade remains is from their fairs.

Modena is a very ancient city, and frequently mentioned in the Roman history. When Decius Brutus was besieged here, Hertius made use of tame pigeons, (which by hunger he had trained up to this service,) as messengers, to give the besieged advice of his intentions, and to receive intelligence from Decius Brutus on their return. The memory of this device is perpetuated even to this very day at Modena, where pigeons are taught to carry let­ters to a place appointed, and bring back answers. Of what benefit these letter-carriers proved to the city of Leyden, when hard pressed by the Spaniards, [Page 182] is sufficiently known from the history of the six­teenth century.

The city of Modena boasts of having given birth to several eminent persons, among whom they reckon Sigoni, the civilian and historian; Fallopi the physician, from whom certain tubes in the hu­man body derive their name: Corregio the painter; Alessandro Tassoni the poet; and the Imperial general Montecuculli.

In the cathedral of Modena is shewn a very un­common trophy of the valour of the inhabitants, namely, a wooden bucket, with iron hoops, which the Modenese, (for what purpose is not mentioned,) brought away from Bologna, and keep as a memo­rial of their expedition to the capital city of their enemies. The war was originally occasioned by the Bolognese refusing to restore some towns ac­cording to compact. As Geminianus was the pa­tron saint of Modena, and Petronius of Bologna, the contending parties were called Geminiani and Petroniani. Alessandro Tassoni has ludicrously de­scribed the whole course of this war, in his most ingenious poems, entitled La secchia rapita; and to heighten the burlesque, he makes the Modenese give rise to that bloody war by stealing this bucket.

[Page 183]It was from this Modenese poet that the cele­brated Boileau took the hint for the Lutrin. The only fault in Tassoni's burlesque poem, is a want of delicacy in some of his expressions, which are some­times so gross as to offend a chaste ear. The bucket, that has been thus immortalized, hangs in one of the towers of the cathedral by an iron chain; to come at it, a person must go through no less than six doors, and give a handsome gratuity be­sides.

The road between Modena and Parma, is part of the ancient via Aemilia, and very pleasant. It lies all along through gardens, and is planted on both sides, with rows of white mulberry-trees. The whole plain consists of plantations and inclo­sures, every where separated by rows of fruit trees and vines; so that few countries can form a richer scene, or yield a more beautiful landscape to the eye.

CHAP. XX. Situation, Extent, City and Police, Productions, &c.

THE independent Republic of Genoa, besides that long tract of land on the continent, which lies on the coast of an extensive gulf in the Medi­terranean, anciently called Mare Ligusticum, was, till within these few years, possessed of the island of Corsica. At present its dominions are confined to the continent, and are in length, from west to east, about 152 English miles; but, from north to south, they are very narrow, in some parts only eight English miles, and in the broadest not above 20. They are bounded by the principality of Piedmont, the duchy of Milan, and the grand dukedoms of Tuscany.

The land of this little territory, says Baretti, can neither boast pastures covered with fat oxen, nor fields rich in corn and hemp, like Piedmont and Lombardy. It is a rocky country, almost without timber, and not abounding in wine: yet the inha­bitants [Page 185] have no reason to envy their neighbours. For besides their lemons and oranges, which yield a considerable sum, they have a tree which makes them ample amends for whatever they may want. This tree is the olive, which thrives here perhaps better than in any part of the known world.

To give some idea of the advantage which the Genoese reap from their olive-trees, we will say, that on the western extremity of their country there is an independant principality so small that it may be leisurely walked over in a morning.

This empire, in miniature, is little more $han six miles long, and only half a one in breadth, where it is broadest. And yet there are upon it two towns Monaco and Mentone, containing about 5000 in­habitants between them; a village with about 400 souls in it, and about 600 inhabitants more, who live in single houses and cottages, scattered up and down the mountains, which limit this principality on the north as the sea does on the south. It is not a little surprising that 6000 people should find their sustenance in a tract of land scarce four miles square, at a distance from all populous towns. Yet it is still more astonishing, that almost the whole of their support should arise from their oil, which they make in such considerable quantities, that the thir­teenth [Page 186] part which they pay in kind, as subjects, to their sovereign, brings herein an income of about 4000 pounds sterling: so that supposing all the owners of olive-trees faithful in giving the full thir­teenth part of their respective produce, the oil pro­duced by so small a tract of land, must be worth between 50 and 60,000 pounds sterling annually. We are therefore not to wonder, if the Genoese, many parts of whose territory, along that coast, are still more valuable than the principality of Monaco, should have many rich subjects: nor are we to won­der when we are informed, by different writers, that there are in Genoa several palaces so large and mag­nificent, as to be residences meet for kings and em­perors; nor to be astonished that so small a state should boast of several families, such as the Doria, Spinola, Grimaldi, and others whose names are as well known as those of the most illustrious persons in the western world. Where intrinsic and real riches abound, great buildings will be raised, and great families formed on the least concurrence of industry, with a favourable turn of fortune.

Of the mountains, which occupy a great part of their country, some are covered with wood, some quite barren and rocky, and others yield good pas­tures. Though the Genoese, on account of their want of arable land, are under the necessity of fur­nishing [Page 187] themselves with great quantities of corn from Lombardy, Sicily, Naples, and other coun­tries; yet such is their skill and industry in improv­ing a mountainous, rocky, and sterile soil, that all the year round, Genoa is plentifully furnished with pulse and garden-stuff, in their highest perfection. The country also produces both common and mus­cadel wine, plenty of excellent fruit, and particu­larly in the western part, lemons, oranges, pome­granates, figs, and almonds; besides many large plantations of mulberry-trees, intended chiefly for silk-worms. The olives generally grow about Spe­tia bay: and, here it will not be amiss to observe, that the olive-tree pretty much resembles a willow, and makes but a mean appearance; that the best oil is white and transparent; that the deep yellow is made from over ripe olives, or from such as have been kept too long, and that good oil has no smell, and is destitute of any kind of viscid fatness. The virgin oil, by the ancients called green oil, is pressed both from ripe and unripe olives; and is the whitest, most palatable, and in every respect the best.

And this serves, says Keysler, to explain a passage in Suetonius, concerning Julius Caesar's good-nature and condescension in eating old rancid oil, that he might not put the person who entertained him to [Page 188] the blush by asking for green oil which he had not provided. Some commentators are of opinion that David, to express God's singular favours to him, makes use of the expression in one of the psalms, 'I am anointed with green oil,' as denoting the best kind of oil.

The oils of Sicily, Greece, and the Levant, are of such a viscid fatness as renders them much infe­rior to those of Italy; and this again must yield to the Provence oil, of which great quantities are used for the tables of persons of rank, both at Naples and Rome.

Salt so abounds throughout the country, that it can be spared for exportation, as can also the stone and marble in its quarries.

A great many rivers water these territories, but none are large enough to deserve notice.

Genoa was the capital of ancient Liguria, and a city of such commerce, that merchants from all parts of the world resorted to it. Modern writers term it Janua, and affirm, that it was built by Janus. But the an­cients always called it Genua. It was destroyed by Mago the Carthaginian, but rebuilt by the Romans, and after them, fell under the power of the Eastern

  • 1 St Mark.
  • 2 M$$$ Place
  • 3 $word$ St Lawrence.
  • 4 $word$ Place
  • 5 Royal Palace
  • 6 St D$$al.
  • 7 St August$$.
  • 8 $word$
  • 9 $word$ St James.
  • 10 $word$ $word$.
  • 11 $word$ $word$.
  • 12 St Anthony
  • 13 St Clare.
  • 14 St $word$
  • 15 The Hospital.
  • 16 St $word$.
  • 17 St $word$.
  • 18 The $word$.
  • 19 St Cath$rine.
  • 20 The Ann$$$$$tion.
  • 21 The Jesui$$
  • 22 C$w Place
  • 23 $word$ Bridge.
  • 24 $word$ Bridge.
  • 25 Royal Bridge.
  • 26 Spinola Bridge.
  • 27 $word$ Bridge.
  • 28 The Gall$$ Bridge
  • 29 The Arsenal.
  • 30 St Thomas Gate
  • 31 The Holy Ghost Con$ent.
  • 32 PP of St Ro$$.
  • 33 Prince of $word$ Hotel.
  • 34 PP $word$ Mary.
  • 35 $$ the Angel.
  • 36 $word$ of the Chapel.
  • 37 St $word$ Convent.
  • 38 Light House.
  • $$ Bourough of St Peter. D$$$$$.
  • 40 $.D. of L$rette.
  • 41 St Barnaba Capuchin.
  • 42 The P$a$$$$$.
  • 43 Great Albert.
  • 44 $word$ St NIcholas.
  • 45 St $word$.
  • 46 $onception Capuchin.
  • 47 St Mary of the Saint.
  • 48 St Barthol$mew.
  • 49 St James.
  • 50 St Philip.
  • 51 New Street Gate.
  • 52 D$ Aqua S$$a Gate.
  • 53 St Etienne Gate.
  • 54 $word$ Gate.
  • 55 Romans Gate.
  • 56 St Aga$$ Bridge.
  • 57 Pill$ Bridge.
  • 58 $word$
  • 59 The Spa$.

[Page 189] Roman Emperors. In the year 670, it was sacked by the Longobardi, under whose dominion it con­tinued till Charlemagne expelled them. After this, Genoa for some centuries acknowledged for sove­reigns, the Kings of Germany, and the Roman Em­perors; but by degrees, erected itself into an inde­pendent state. In the twelfth century, the Genoese subjected the city of Syracuse, half the kingdom of Sardinia, and even made themselves masters of the Black Sea, and all its parts, and settled themselves in the Crim. In the 15th century, being extremely weakened by a long struggle with the Venetians for the superiority at sea, they were entirely driven from the Crimea. They were soon after obliged to put themselves under the protection of the Kings of France, who, treating them with intolerable bauteur, that naval hero, Andrew Doria, in 1528, rescued his country out of their hands, settled it in perfect freedom, and established its present constitu­tion.

The situation of Genoa, is one of the most in­convenient, yet one of the most beautiful, of any city in Italy, or as Addison says, in the world: it is seen to the greatest advantage, at the distance of a quarter of a league at sea; its stately buildings, which have gained it the name of superba, forming a glorious amphitheatre, gradually rising along the hill. This declivity, and the narrowness of the [Page 190] streets, some of which are not above six feet wide, preclude the use of coaches in Genoa; every body contenting themselves with going on foot, except the principal ladies, who are carried in chairs. To this narrowness of the streets, it is owing that this city takes up so little of the plain before it. Ano­ther reason assigned for it is, that the loftiness of the houses, and the narrowness of the streets, abate the summers excessive heats, by intercepting the sun-beams, and thus tend to preserve the healthfulness of the city. This also was the opinion of the old Romans, and there was some murmuring, when Nero, after the conflagration of the city, altered the former method, and ordered that the houses should neither be built so high as before, nor contiguous to each other. Some were of opinion, says Tacitus, that the ancient mode was more conducive to health, since by the narrowness of the streets, and the height of the houses, the heat of the sun was in some measure broken; but that now, by the present open disposition, the city is exposed to all its vio­lence, without any thing to intercept the solar rays. The streets are exceedingly well paved, and in some parts with free stone. There being no coaches nor other carriages in them, conduces not a little to their cleanness; besides the barrenness of the neigh­bouring soil requiring great quantities of manure, the dung of horses and mules is very carefully ga­thered [Page 191] up. What the Arabs do out of superstition with regard to those camels which have been in the Mecca caravans, the poor people here do from necessity, carefully picking up all the horse and mule dung they meet with. This is chiefly ob­served in the suburbs, where the breadth of the streets admits the use of all kinds of wheel car­riages.

Genoa, observes Martyn, is built on the side of a mountain, in a semi-circle round the harbour. For magnificent buildings, and beauty of situation, it may vie with any city. It is surrounded by a double wall, one encompassing it immediately, the other taking in all the rising grounds that command it. There is a most agreeable walk round the ramparts, from the convent of S. Antonio, to the fanale, or light-house. It is supposed to contain about 80,000 inhabitants. The streets are crowded, the shops well furnished, and the markets abound in ex­cellent provisions.

The whole range of rocks on the Genoese coast, is either slate or marble, and very steep. The in­dustry of the inhabitants here, particularly in the environs of this city, made amends for the want of fertility in the mountains, which are in general co­vered with olives, vines, pomegranates, orange and [Page 192] lemon trees; and adorned with buildings and gardens.

From the rocks projecting into the sea, have been made several bastions, in some places two or three behind each other, and the length of these fortifications, with the lower tower, is not less than three Italian miles. The number of guns mounted on all the works, for the defence of the city, is little short of five hundred. This city is ten miles in circumference, and such is the inequality of the country, that it takes up three hours to ride round it. Its wall is of too great ex­tent to be of any great service, unless perhaps, in keeping out the banditti. On entering the city, travellers must deliver up their fire-arms, for which they receive half a tally; but they may have them again directly, if they please to accompany their tally with a piece of money, though properly, this should not be complied with, till the party is going to leave the city. The west side of the city, is watered by the river Bonzevera, and on the opposite side runs another, with a stone bridge over each.

The harbour of Genoa is large, but not very safe; and to fence it farther from the south wind, would make the entrance too narrow, and consequently be a detriment or inconvenience to the city. In the [Page 185] middle of the harbour, on a place called the Royal Bridge, is a commodious watering place for ships, the water being conveyed by pipes from the moun­tains.

At the bottom of the harbour is the Porto Franco, containing the warehouses of the merchants, admira­bly disposed in a separate enclosure, opened only at certain times. All merchandize must be lodged here, and pays no custom at entrance; whatever is sold for the consumption of the city, pays eight or ten per cent upon the value, but all that is exported, pays only a slight duty. They do not suffer ecclesi­astics, officers, women, or livery servants, to enter without particular permission. Within this harbour, is the Darsena, or wet dock, for the gallies of the republics. From the formidable figure which the Genoese fleet made in times past, it is now reduced to six gallies, and all the use of these is to fetch corn from Naples and Sicily, and to give the ladies an airing. The complement of the largest gallies, is from 60 to a 100 soldiers, and 320 rowers, five or six on a bench, which serves them for a bed. The Darsena abounds with Turkish slaves, who are ge­nerally of a surly, fierce aspect, to which their long whiskers do not a little contribute. In the Darsena they are at liberty; but in the city one meets them every where chained in couples, and crying cheese, [Page 186] cotton, cloth, &c. They also keep tipling-houses and petty shops in the Darsena, their officers giving them all possible encouragement, and advancing them a small sum of money, with which, in their trips to Marseilles, Corsica, and other places, they buy all kinds of knick-knacks at a very cheap rate, and make a good market of them at Genoa, where every thing is extremely dear; but the officers come in for a share of the profits: some of these slaves are furnished with goods to trade with, out of the re­publics warehouses, part for ready money, and part on credit, at a stated price. At night none of them are to be absent from the Darsena, for they are mus­tered and locked up every evening. Private persons who have been successful in fitting out ships against the Barbary corsairs, may keep such slaves; but they are generally sold to the state, which puts them to the best use, and can best secure them. Their common employment is knitting woollen stockings and caps. This shews the lenity and indulgence of the Christians towards the Mahometan captives, very different from the hardships imposed on the Christians, who have the misfortune to fall into the hands of the Turkish corsairs.

The rowers on board the Turkish gallies, gene­rally consist of three classes. The first class is of in­digent people, who sell themselves for a certain term [Page 187] of years, among whom, are many Italians and Pied­montese, and the common price of such at Genoa, is 60 or 70 livres for the space of two years cer­tain. The second class are criminals, who have been sentenced to try at the oar for a limited time, or during life. The third sort are Turkish or Bar­bary prisoners, who, though they become converts to christianity, do not recover their freedom; but it is not uncommon for them, by means of their godfathers, to be put into a better way of living, and upon their good behaviour, to obtain their liberty.

Those who behave well, are allowed to have little shops or sheds on the quay. These are all chained to their shops, but the chains being pretty long, they can move about in them, and even backward and forward before their doors. Others are permitted to go all over the town, chained in couples, and hawk about fish, matts, &c. Sometimes it has hap­pened, that these poor creatures, thus coupled, quar­rel, and frequently from such trifling causes as one of them wishing to go one way, and the other a different one; these disputes at last have risen to such a height, that the consequences might have been fatal, had they not been timely separated. On the other hand friendships have commenced from the similitude of their misfortunes; so that the greatest [Page 188] harmony has subsisted among some of them. There is one man who has been chained to his little shop on the quay, where he has vended coffee and li­quors for 18 years, and by his industry acquired up­wards of 40,000 livres: he offered 10,000 to Prince D— for his liberty, but the Prince demanded 20, and the gallerian thought that even freedom might be purchased too dear; he therefore remains a slave, barefooted, his head shaved, and wears a loose short redingotte, of coarse cloth, lined with shag, nor seems to indulge himself with any convenience or comfort of life, more than his comrades, though so much richer. However to prevent Prince D. and the other magistrates from profiting by his death he has entered into partnership with a younger slave, whom he has made his heir, which it seems was necessary for the above purpose.

Upon the whole, the idea received in this country of the wretched situation of a galley-slave is very much exaggerated. To those gallerians, who were originally poor and hard labouring peasants, the being a galley-slave can scarce be deemed a mis­fortune.

The faro, or light-house, a tower which is ascended by 166 steps, stands on the west side of the harbour, and is situated on a high rock, which is also forti­fied. [Page 189] Every night, except about the summer sol­stice, a lanthorn, with 36 lamps, is hung out at the top of it, toward the sea; and when a number of ships or any fleet is known to be in these seas, an addition is made to the number of lamps, which, yet at a distance, appear like a single star.

In the piazza nuova, or new square, before the Doge's palace, is a daily market, Sundays not ex­cepted for vegetables and other provision; and in the middle of January here are exposed to sale, green peas, artichokes, and water melons, in great plenty; besides hyacinths, and most kinds of flow­ers in full bloom.

The finest street in the whole city is the strada nuova, or the new street, which is 12 common paces in breadth, and planned by Galeazzi, an architect of Perugia, who also built most of the fine palaces in it. Among these are 10 or 12 of most remark­able beauty and magnificence. The first floors of these palaces open into beautiful gardens and oran­geries, like the horti pensiles of the ancients. Over the entrance of the palace of Doria is written this motto, Nulli certa domus. 'No one has a fixed ha­bitation.' The very same words stand over the door of the Republic's palace, and are well adapted to the Doge's short continuance in it. The palace [Page 190] of Imperiali in Competto, has a very fine prospect of two streets, of which the owner of this palace is proprietor, who from one window can look down on a spot of no great extent, which brings him in 4000 pounds a year. The strada Balbi is but little inferior to the strada nuova in beauty, and exceeds it in length and breadth. Two palaces of the Balbi family, the Jesuits college, and the palace of Du­razzo are great ornaments to it, the latter being 140 common paces in front, is incontestably the finest private building in the whole city, and its furniture answerable to its outward magnificence. In this palace are some exquisite paintings, and on the third story is an open gallery, decked all round with beauti­ful urns for flowers, which affords a grand prospect of the harbour, &c. and leads to a most charming garden, adorned with fountains, and walks of orange and citron trees. The palace of Prince Doria, near the light-house, has the same conve­nience, and formerly there was a stone key behind the garden, by means of which the family could step out of the garden into their barge, but that is now altered. Whilst the Emperor Charles V. once lodged in this palace, apartments were suddenly run up; at the end of which, to his great surprise, he found a fine yacht ready to receive him. Prince Doria ordered all the plate, both gold and silver used at the entertainment, to be thrown overboard, [Page 191] whilst the Spanish noblemen, in the Emperor's re­tinue, stood looking at one another with astonish­ment at this apparent extravagance, little knowing that care had been taken to spread nets all about the vessel; and that the Spaniards from the vast quantity of plate, might not imagine any of it was borrowed, the Prince had the following inscription in Spanish put on that side of the palace, which is opposite the light-house: 'Thanks to God and the King; in this house there is nothing borrowed.'

On the left hand of the entrance into the gardens is the image of a monster, standing in a fountain, whose fore part resembles a satyr, with two small horns, but its hind part has a double fish's tail erect. This monster is said to have been taken alive. In the middle of the garden is a larger foun­tain, where among several marble statues is one in the gigantic taste of the famous Andrew Doria, who died in the year 1560, after a life of the most ho­nourable successes, and full of days, for he lived 93 years. As a public acknowledgment of his eminent services to his country, every year, on the fifteenth of September, the captain of the ducal palace, at­tended by 200 soldiers, carries the city keys in a dish, to the Prince of Doria, who, on this occasion, entertains them with a feast. At these times the most magnificent furniture of his palace, his ad­mirable [Page 192] pictures, plate, tapestry, looking glasses, tables, &c. are finely displayed. Another mark of the republic's gratitude is, that foreigners ex­cepted, the Princes of Dona and their domestics only, are allowed to wear swords within the city, none of the nobility being permitted to do it, unless when going on a journey.

From the second story of this palace is a passage over a little bridge into another garden, laid out in a very agreeable variety along the acclivity of the hill; and on the top of it, is a gigantic statue of Jupiter, made of plaster, resting his foot upon a great dog, whose good qualities are celebrated in the following epetaph:

Here lies the great Rolando, a dog belonging to Prince John Andrew Doria, whose unshaken fidelity and good nature, entitled him to this monument; and having when alive, distinguished himself by an uniform practice of both these good qualities, it was judged no more than justice, to deposit his re­mains near Jupiter, as truly worthy of his royal protection. He lived eleven years and ten months, and died the seventh of September, at five o'Clock in the evening, in the year 1605.

[Page 193]Those who may think it a prostitution of epi­taphs, that one should be bestowed on a dog, and the hour of his death so particularly set down, will pro­bably think the legacy of five hundred crowns a-year, for the maintainance of that animal, none of the most commendable. Spartian, in the 20th chapter of the Life of Hadrian, represents this Em­peror as such a lover of horses and dogs, that he erected monuments to them. Charles XII. the war­like King of Sweden, had such a regard for his dog Pompey, who every where attended him, that the creature happening to die in Poland, he had it car­ried into Sweden, that it might not lie out of its na­tive country.

The cathedral is dedicated to S. Lawrence, and in a chapel where 30 silver lamps are continually burning, is kept with great veneration the bones of John the Baptist. But the principal curiosity in this church, and accounted so valuable, that it may not be seen without the Archbishop's leave, is an emerald dish; said to be a present from the Queen of Sheba to Solomon. It is pretended, that it was af­terwards used for the paschal lamb, and after that, by our Saviour at the last supper, and lastly came to the republic of Genoa, either by the generosity of Baldwin, King of Jerusalem, or as its share of the plunder of the city of Caesarea, in the year 1101. [Page 194] This dish is of a round figure, with an hexagonical rim, and is eight inches and a half, or near two common palms in diameter, and about five palms in circumference. It is quite plain, without any carv­ing or sculpture; but what is most remarkable is, that it is made of one single emerald, which, for dimensions, is to be paralleled only with that at the convent of Reichenau, in Baden-see, which we have already noticed.

The sacred edifice of Genoa, like those at Na­ples, remarks Grossley, are full of funeral inscrip­tions, but in general, as plain as those of Naples are, turgid and bombastical. They have com­monly annexed to them, some moral or prudential maxim, for the use of the traveller who stops to read them. On the frieze of the magnificent tomb of one of the name of Spinola, is the follow­ing, in large characters:

Quod per te facere potes,
Alteri ne commiseris.

i. e. Leave not to another, what you can do yourself.

In some public places are inscriptions of another kind, also consecrated to posterity, but perpetuat­ing the infamous memory of such as have injured [Page 195] the state, and whose names are set up in the chief places of the Genoese territories. The perpetu­ating monuments of this kind, can scarce be re­conciled with that humane maxim of gratiae am­pliandae, odia restringenda, "Favours should be mul­tiplied, disservices restrained."

Near St. Mary's church is a stone bridge, which joins together two eminences in the city, formerly separated by a deep valley. This bridge cannot be seen without astonishment, for it consists of one small and three large arches, of such a height, as to be elevated ten or twelve feet above several houses of five or six stories, so that it crosses a large street. The breadth of this extraordinary bridge is 45 feet, and its length about 160 or 170 paces.

The state palace is an old mean building, the left side of which is assigned to the Doge, whose table also is defrayed at the public expence; it stands almost in the centre of the city, and has a guard at the entrance. From the audience room a passage leads to the arsenal, over the entrance of which, is the rostrum of an ancient Roman ship. It is about three spans in length, and its greatest thickness is two thirds of a foot. Near it are these words: This ancient Roman rostrum, the only one [Page 196] which has hitherto been found, was digged up when this harbour was cleared, in the year 1597, and by order of the states, set up as a monument of the great naval glory of our ancestors.

The arsenal contains above 25,000 musquets, and among other curiosities is a shield with 120 pistol barrels fixed in it, which may be fired in three equal discharges of 40 at a time; likewise the cuirasses of several Genoese ladies, who, under Pope Boni­face VIII. performed a crusade to the holy land. This armour, says Lady Millar, is nicely contrived for women, yet there are some ridiculous peculiari­ties belonging to it. Among other singular war­like matters, there is a wooden cannon, lined in the inside with a thin plate of brass, and a sword with a pistol in it.

The public charities of the individuals of Genoa, surpass, perhaps, those of any other country in Eu­rope, of its extent and revenue; witness the vast number of churches and convents founded and en­dowed by private citizens, the great hospital, by voluntary contributions, the Albergo, the Port Frene, the house for 300 girls, by one subject; the church and bridge of Carignan, by another; a foundation for the maintenance of 240 nuns, of the order of S. Theresa, by the Brignoli family, who are obliged [Page 197] to attend the foundling hospital and the Albergo. Marcellinus Durazzo's little college for 12 poor boys of noble parentage: this building joins to his own palace: they are found in every thing at his sole expence, and have proper masters to qualify them for different professions, according to their several abilities and inclinations.

The Albergo is a building of great extent, and does honour to the Genoese; serving at once for charitable uses, and for a house of correction. One wing is appropriated to the females, the other to the males; that for the females is divided among illegitimate females, and legitimate orphans, who by having lost their parents are deprived of the care, education, and maintenance they might otherwise have been entitled to. The legitimate females consist of about 450, who are taught embroidery, knitting, and plain-work; are well cloathed and fed, and often marry into rich citizens families. Poor old infirm people, past their labour, are main­tained here during the remainder of their days. Poor people also, who cannot afford themselves lodging places, having previously proved to the council their necessitous circumstances, obtain beds for one night, and are always offered a bowl of soup, and a pound and a half of bread, before they depart in the morning. All strangers of every [Page 198] country and poor travellers are allowed to lodge and $at as mentioned above. The boys, who are about 500, are taught all sorts of handicrafts; and if they have no friends or relations to protect them when fit to earn their bread, are set up in different trades at the charge of the fund, which is very con­siderable.

The Cambeaces, of which there are now five fa­milies, originally sprung from trade, and who are still merchants, give every day a bowl of soup, and a pound of bread, to each of the poor who present themselves at their gate; if it should so happen that, at any time, there is not a sufficiency of soup for all, the grown persons receive each four sous, and the children two, in lieu of it. The number of poor is generally from 3 to 500: they are gene­rally strangers, for there are not many natives of the Republic in such necessitous circumstances as to want bread. They also give once a year to poor women, who apply for them, a shift, with a corset, and petticoat; to the men, a shirt, a great coat, with a hood to it, a pair of breeches, and shoes. At the end of the year those who present themselves in the cloaths that had been given them, are im­mediately new cloathed; but others who shew no remains of the former bounty have their conduct strictly scrutinized. A little of the soup, out of the [Page 199] great boiler, is always carried to one of the family to taste, before it is distributed to the poor, lest by the want of attention or neglect of the servants, it should not be good. It is remarkable that the great expence, which they are at, has had no ten­dency to diminish their circumstances, as they have for more than a century past, been encreasing in riches.

The theatre of this city is rather large than small, but not beautiful, either as to architecture or paint­ing. All the boxes below stairs are shut in with jalousies, except when the owners chuse to shew themselves to the audience, at which time they light them up with wax candles, and the jalousies are removed.

Every Sunday evening during the winter, an oratorio or religious opera is performed in one of the churches, which is succeeded by a sermon; and then the service concludes with a piece of church music. As the design of this is to keep people from bad company, and at the same time to incite them, by the most animated exhortations, to sanctity of life, no great objection can lie against it; but the summer diversion cannot be looked upon with equal indulgence. Near Prince Doria's palace, without S. Thomas's gate, these monks have a gar­den, [Page 200] with a beautiful edifice in it, where every Sun­day, in the afternoon, they permit several kinds of games, as drafts, chess, billiards; dice and cards are excepted. It is true, they do not play here for money, but for ave maria's, pater-nosters, and other prayers; and at the breaking up of a party, the losers kneel before an image of the Virgin Mary, and there, according to their losings, discharge themselves to her, or to God, by pater-nosters, &c. In the evening they leave off playing, and an ora­torio is performed; next comes a spiritual exhorta­tion, and at length this medley of levity and reli­gion closes with a solemn piece of music. The intent, indeed, is far from culpable, being to divert the commonalty from riotous meetings; and an excessive fondness for gaming is gratified without prejudice to their substance and families: but how this abuse of God's name, in these lost prayers, can be justified is a mystery.

With respect to the police of this city, the Sbirri at Genoa are pretty much like our constables; they also execute all arrests, collect the taxes, and guard the port. They are abhorred by the people, pro­tected by the great and by what is called here the Prince, which means the Government. The of­ficers of justice here appear in as infamous a light as the hangmen in France. The meanest wretch of [Page 201] Genoa would deem it a disgrace to marry the daughter or sister of a Sbirri. They can even have no society but with their own fraternity, it being ignominious for their neighbours to associate with them. It frequently happens that the females of these Sbirri are remarkably handsome, and that their beauty procures them the particular attention and protection of the nobles, scarce one of whom but what has a favourite mistress among them: These men run great risks in the execution of their office; 10 or 12 of them, at least, are killed every year by the populace. Sixty livres is the allowance for each arrest. At the approach of night they walk the streets in small parties, to prevent assassi­nations, which are not uncommon in Genoa. It is absolutely forbidden that any person should carry a stilletto concealed about him. Therefore when the Sbirri meet a suspicious person they surround him immediately, and stroke him down the sides and hips, to discover if he has one about him. Should they find one, he is hurried away to prison, and there detained six months, even if his character be unimpeachable; otherwise he is sent to the gal­lies for life, or for a considerable term of years. Notwithstanding this ordinance of government, there is scarce a Genoese who does not possess and carry one about him. This deadly instrument makes its way at one stroke through the ribs, the [Page 202] spine of the back, or the shoulder blades, so well is the steel tempered. The most dreadful accidents, says Lady Millar, in contradiction to Keysler, fre­quently happen in the streets; for on receiving the slightest provocation these weapons make their ap­pearance; they assail each other with great ferocity, and no unconcerned spectator ever interposes, fear­ing a momentary resentment of either combatant might prove fatal to him; and even though one of them should fall, no one ever thinks of pursuing or stopping the murderer; a culpo di coltello, that is, a stab with a knife, is looked upon here as a black eye or a bloody nose in England. Another reason why spectators do not interpose is, that the family of the guilty person are implacable towards an in­former; and never fail to requite his officiousness sooner or later with a like return. The manner in which the guilty assassin secures himself is by going immediately on board a foreign ship in the harbour, where he remains in safety till the accident is forgot. If the wound is but slight, the assassin never thinks even of going on ship-board, but walks off to the nearest church, where in the portico, or on the steps, he is in safety; but if the wound proves mortal, the church no longer affords him an asylum, and he can then be taken even from on ship-board. The churches are also very convenient for all pilferers, who are there in security from the Sbirri; but in the case [Page 203] of highway-robbers, house-breakers, and assassins, an order is procured from the archbishop, authoris­ing the civil power to take them from thence.

CHAP. XXI. Character, Dress, Customs, and Manners.

THE Genoese are esteemed extremely cunning, industrious, and inured to hardship above the rest of the Italians; which was likewise the charac­ter of their ancestors, the old Ligurians. The Ita­lian proverb says, of the Genoese, that 'they have a sea without fish, land without trees, women with­out modesty, and men without faith.'

It is true, says Baretti, that the Tyrrhene sea does not greatly abound in fish, and the rocky tops of the Ligurian mountains are not much shaded by firs and oaks. But integrity in men and modesty in women are quite as common, throughout the Ge­noese country, as elsewhere. The Genoese nobles are in general affable, polite, and very knowing; [Page 204] and their great ladies much better acquainted with books than any other set of Italian ladies. They all pique themselves on speaking Italian and French with great correctness, and men may converse in their hearing on the belle-lettres, and even on trade and politics, without any breach of civility; which would not be the case in almost all other parts of Italy.

With regard to the common people, the Genoese are the most laborious and industrious of any nation whatever. Nor are they wanting in bravery, as the Germans experienced to their cost in the last Italian war, when that army which had defeated 40 or 50,000 French at Placentia, was by the Genoese populace impetuously attacked, routed, and put to a most ignominious flight.

The Genoese, from their commerce with other nations, says Lady Millar, are very quick of ap­prehension, guessing at what you would say, however ill you may express yourself. Nor do they think a stranger ridiculous for not speaking their language fluently; rashly confounding words and ideas, and supposing the want or misapprehension of the for­mer, to proceed from a defect or confusion in the latter. In dealing with a Genoese the bargain is [Page 205] soon concluded; for they seldom ask more than they mean to take, and are a people of few words.

The law of gain is so prevalent here, that all ranks give into trade. The laws have taken care, in many articles, to put a check upon excessive splendor and luxury. Foreigners, and the eight counsellors of state, excepted, no person is to be at­tended by above one footman; and she must be a lady of considerable rank, who, besides such an at­tendant, is allowed a page; and he must not exceed 14 years of age.

It seems little to agree with the reserve and mo­desty of the fair-sex, that most of the married ladies of distinction are every where attended by a gentle­man, who in the streets walks before their chair, and at coming into the church holds the holy water for them, and does all the other little acts of com­plaisance, in a particular manner like a lover. Some ladies are not satisfied with one such obsequi­ous dangler, but admit several for distinct offices; one attends his lady when she goes abroad, another provides for the table, another has the management of parties of pleasure, a fourth regulates the gaming table, a fifth is even consulted about receipts and disbursements; and both the beauty and wit of a lady are commonly rated according to the number [Page 206] of these votaries. They all pass under the denomi­nation of Platonic lovers; and one would, indeed, almost imagine, the husbands had nothing to fear from all these familiarities; for the Genoese being true Italians in point of jealousy, can not be igno­rant how far these intimacies may be carried, as they, in their turn, are cicisbei to other married la­dies. Nor is this piece of gallantry confined to the young women only, but ladies advanced in years, pique themselves much on having their cicisbeo; however this custom is merely arbitrary, there being no indispensible obligation here to observe it, and it, in some measure, now seems to be on the decline.

A very striking instance of the sincerity of their attachment, notwithstanding the ridicule thrown on them, is related in the history of the wars of Genoa, which we have made the subject of a plate. Donna Thomasa (a lady of one of the noblest families of Genoa) having by her good offices contributed to appease the wrath of Lewis XII. she chose him for her cavalier servante, the monarch repaying her at­tachment to him with a mutual return of love. This so won upon her affections, that on a report which prevailed in Italy of his death, she immedi­ately secluded herself from all society, and had a mausoleum erected in her palace, to which she re­tired every day for many hours, to give free vent to


[Page 207] her grief, in meditating on her deceased friend. When she died the Republic thought themselves so much indebted to her good offices with this mo­narch, that they ordered her a public funeral at the expence of the state.

The Genoese nobility are great economists; and may be worth generally from one to 5000 pounds a year; though few of them have a revenue equal to this latter sum, except the families of Durazzo and Doria. They live with great parsimony in their fa­milies, and wear nothing but black in public; so that their expences are but small. If a Genoese no­bleman gives an entertainment once a quarter, he is said to live upon the fragments all the rest of the year. I was told, says Smollett, that one of them lately invited his friends, and left the entertainment to the care of his son, who ordered a dish of fish that cost a zechin, equal to about ten shillings in English. The old gentleman no sooner saw it ap­pear on the table, than unable to suppress his con­cern, he burst into tears, and exclaimed, Ah! fi­gliuolo indegno! Siamo in rovina! Siamo in precipizio! Oh! graceless son; we are ruined! we are ruined!

The pride and ostentation of the Italians in gene­ral, however, may be said to take a more laudable turn than that of other nations. A Frenchman lays [Page 208] out his whole revenue upon tawdry suits of cloaths, or in furnishing a magnificent entertainment of 50 or a 100 covers, one half of which are not eatable, nor intended to be eaten. His wardrobe goes to the fripier; his dishes to the dogs, and himself to the devil; and after his decease no vestige of him remains. A Genoese, on the other hand, keeps him­self and his family on short allowance, that he may save money to build palaces and churches, which remain to after ages as so many monuments of his taste, piety, and munificence; and in the mean time give bread and employment to the poor and indus­trious. There are some Genoese nobles who have each five or six elegant palaces, magnificently fur­nished, either in the city or in different parts of the environs along the coast.

Both sexes at Genoa are in general personable and handsome, and affect the French dress to the utmost extent of the sumptuary laws, by which men are al­lowed only to wear black, with a short sattin cloak, and their sedans coursely varnished with black. The same laws prohibit women from pearls, diamonds, and laces. Their carriage is the same as that of men; and all their light after dark, is a sorry lan­thern, on one of the poles of the leading chairman. The only persons dispensed from these rigid laws are the spose, or such as are promised in marriage; and [Page 209] this for six weeks before and after their nuptials. In this happy interval their love of finery has its full range; they go in gilded chairs, splendidly glazed, with white wax flambeaux before and behind; and in the richest full dresses, glittering with jewels and laces. During this transient period, it is the same with them as with young women about taking the veil, who are led to the parish church in all the pomp and glitter which their family can furnish.

The dress of the bourgeois, says Lady Millar, is fine, but singular. Their heads are wrapped up in a piece of printed cotton, which looks like a coun­terpane; it reaches down to their waists, and rolling it round them, they fold their arms over the ends, bringing it so close together before, that scarce any part of their faces can be seen. They have strait bodied gowns, with very long trains of rich satins, damasks, &c. these they do not give themselves the trouble to hold out of the dirt; so their tails sweep up all the ordure of the streets. They generally wear long aprons of fine muslins trimmed with lace.

The poorer sort of women and peasants are wretchedly cloathed; they wear a petticoat of wool­len or striped linen, with a corset; their heads are quite naked, the hair of the chignion rolled round [Page 210] and round at the top of the back of the head, and several pewter bodkins, as long as skewers, stuck through it by way of ornament.

There is something very shocking, remarks Lady Millar, in being served entirely by men, till custom and necessity, in some measure, reconcile one to it. Not a female is to be seen in an Italian inn. Our expences are half a guinea a head per day for eating, and for this they give us three or four dishes. Their constant use of oil, even in their soups, and which is seldom good, is extremely disgusting. The manner of roasting their meat is singular; after oiling the meat with a feather, they suspend it over a charcoal fire, until it is become so dry and brittle as to admit of pulverization. Fish is rarely to be had except on maigre days. The great scarcity of fish, how­ever, according to Lady Millar, is not owing to a want of abundance in the gulph, but to a tax upon this article, when exposed for sale in the markets, which raises the price to the buyers above that of butchers meat; although that is sold at 12 sous the pound; the Genoese do not eat much meat. The poorer sort especially live almost entirely upon ches­nuts and macaroni. Bread is excellent here, but very dear, the corn with which it is made coming from Sicily. Fourteen bakers work night and day the year round. The price of rolls of the size of [Page 211] those called French rolls at Bath, is dearer by a halfpenny than in that town.

The inns at Genoa, says Keysler, afford but in­different entertainment, and care must be taken always to make an agreement for every thing before hand. Their houses are furnished with wine from the republic, and in sealed bottles; yet the wine is none of the best, though it is not adulterated by the landlords. As the whole profit of the latter, arises only from the empty bottles, he takes care to make it up in other articles. Besides this monopoly of wine, which all who have none of their own growth, must buy from the republic; it is the state only which deals in corn, none being sold in any market, but all bakers must apply for it to the public granaries.

At the funerals of single persons, a sort of gar­land, decked with all kinds of artificial flowers, is placed upon the coffin. When persons of distinc­tion are buried, the religious fraternities walk in the procession, with their white hoods drawn over their faces, carrying wax flambeaux in their hands, which they hold horizontally, that poor boys by catching the wax upon paper as it drops off, may earn a few sous. The intention is doubtless good; but the sight of so many ragged boys, mingling in the procession, is no great ornament to the solemnity.

CHAP. XXII. Of their Government, Revenue, Army, Navy, and Commerce.

THE form of government in this republic, is aristocratical. The chief is called Doge or Duke, to which dignity, no person is promoted, till he is 50 years of age, and has for 15 years, left off all trade or occupation, not consistent with nobility. Every two years, a new Doge is chosen, and the former incapacitated, during five years to hold the same post. On the election day, which is usually the third of January, the great council meets in the ducal palace, and by drawing gilt balls out of a box, 50 persons are chosen out of the lesser council, who write down the names of such persons, as they think worthy of being promoted to the ducal office. Upon any irreconcilable disputes in the biennial election, it is adjourned from week to week, and the government is lodged, in the mean time, in the eldest senator. The vote of a poor nobleman, says Keysler, is often secured by 50 or 60 louis dors, and there goes a story, that once a necessitous nobleman, being to go a journey, was for borrowing a cloak [Page 213] of a wealthy member of the same order, but met with a kind of repulse; and some time after, com­ing into the senate, when his ill-natured rich neigh­bour who wanted but one to be elected doge, began to solicit and made great promises for gaining him over, but all was to no purpose, for the poor senator openly declared, 'That his neighbour had lately suffered him to go a journey without a cloak, and in return, he might for his part, go without a cap.

The Doge resides in a palace belonging to the republic, with his family, and eight Senators ap­pointed for his council. He has a guard of 200 men allowed him, who are all Germans; their uniform is red, faced with blue; but the rest of the soldiery, which is composed of all nations, are cloathed in white, with blue facings. The first two days after his election, he wears royal robes, but afterwards, only the scarlet gown, common to all the members of the council, Lady Millar, in describing his ordinary dress, observes, that his robes are crimson velvet, his stockings, shoes, &c. red; and that he wears a square cap on his head of a crimson colour, with a tuft of flame coloured silk in the middle. He wears also a large cravat of lace, with a prodigious perriwig. The procurators and senators have robes of black damask.

[Page 214]The particulars of his prerogatives are, that with­out his consent, nothing can be proposed, nor can any resolutions of the council be of the least force. In all important affairs, he makes the first motion, gives audience to ambassadors, and assembles the colleges. All orders are also issued in his name.

During his administration, he is stiled Serenité; but afterwards has no other title than that of Ex­cellenza, common to all the Senators. The other nobility are stiled Illustrissimi. But titles are what the Italians are least sparing of.

The great council in Genoa, is composed of 400, and the little council of 100. None but nobles, and such as reside at Genoa, can be admitted into ei­ther.

The ordinary income of the state, computed to amount only to about half a million of liri, arises from the duties on imports and exports. When these revenues fall short of the public expences, the state borrows from the nobles and rich citizens, large sums at a high interest, on certain pledges, and even assignments on branches of the public income, which recourse, in 1407, gave rise to the famous bank of S. George, so called from St. George's church, the place where it formerly held its meetings. [Page 215] Its opulence and power are very extraordinary, whole towns, manors, and territories belong to it. It is not only to the republic that this company has ad­vanced large sums, but also to foreigners, by way of mortgage on lands or public revenues in other states; but it cannot be said, that either this bank or the republic, have met with the best of treatment in the performance of their contracts. In 1746, in order to answer the demands of the Imperialists, it was quite drained and brought to the brink of ruin.

It would have been better for the republic of Genoa, says Addison, if she had followed the ex­ample of her sister of Venice, in not permitting her nobles to purchase lands or houses in the territories of a foreign potentate. For at present, the prin­cipal families among the Genoese, are in part sub­jects of the kingdom of Naples, by reason of their estates which lie in that kingdom. The Neapoli­tans sometimes tax them very high, and are so sen­sible of the advantage this gives them over the re­public; that they will not suffer a Neapolitan to buy the lands of a Genoese, who must find a purchaser among his own countrymen, if he has a mind to fell.

[Page 216]Sir John Millar observes, that the possessions of the Genoese out of their own territory, are nearly equal to the whole income of that state. As to their being the most likely to give themselves up to Spain or Naples, by reason of such tenure, that is unnatural: weak in themselves, and unwarlike, they cannot resist any one power; but their safety has hitherto depended, and must always depend upon the interest others have, in their continuing a free state: their acquisition would too much in­crease the consequence and influence of any neigh­bouring power. Besides, what bribe can Spain, Naples, or even France offer to the Genoese nobi­lity, as an equivalent for their liberty? Can they, out of their own houses, see any thing desirable in the palace of kings? Rich in their frugality, in the possession of honours, of power, and considera­tion, can a noble Genoese envy the prime minister or favourite of any crowned head in Europe?

In times of peace, the republic usually keeps on foot, a body of 5000 regular troops, namely, 4000 natives; 200 Germans, who form the Doge's life guard; 500 Swiss; 300 Italians; 100 Corsicans, and 100 Bombardiers. Besides these, it has also a militia, which, in case of necessity, is obliged to take the field. The cavalry it raises in war-time, amount only to about 600 who are but little ser­viceable [Page 217] by reason of the badness of horses in this country. In the last war the republic had no less than 18,000 men in pay.

The fleet of this Republic, anciently so celebrated for its victories over the Saracens, Pisanese, Vene­tians, Spaniards, and Turks, and for continuing, a considerable time, master of Sardinia, Malta, Ma­jorca, Minorca, Candia, Cyprus, and many other islands and places, in and near the Mediterranean and Archipelago, and even of the Black Sea, the Crim, and other places, is now reduced to six gal­lies.

Though the Genoese manufactures are much fal­len short of the vogue they were formerly in, yet velvet, plush, and fustian are still made as well as damasks, and other silk stuffs; for which consider­able quantities of red silk are imported from Mes­sina, and other ports of Sicily: they also make gold and silver tissues, laces and gloves; but inferior to those of France and the Netherlands. The other Genoese merchandize consists of oil, fruit, Parmesan cheese, anchovies, and drugs, which last are brought from the Levant. With these goods a brisk trade is carried on, especially to Spain. Ships of most European nations are constantly seen at Genoa, which is also the great mart for the trade of Lom­bardy. [Page 218] The revenues principally arise from the manufactures and trade, but the state is far from making by them the figure it formerly did; and the reasons are obvious, considering the increase and improvement of manufactures in other coun­tries, the dearness of the Genoese, and the dangers of the harbour. Genoa is noted for the richest bankers in Europe, acquiring wealth by dealing in bills of exchange.

CHAP. XXIII. Review of the Manners and Customs of the Italians in general, particularly in their private Life, their Games and Pastimes.

IN perusing the books of travellers we are natu­rally led, says Baretti, to expect an account of the domestic life of the people whom they have visited; few of them, however, are possessed of the first and most indispensable requisite towards the perfor­mance of this task; that is, a competent knowledge of the language of the country they visit; they can­not [Page 219] therefore easily be admitted by the natives to that familiarity of intercourse, which might afford them sufficient opportunities to make remarks on their private life.

We will endeavour to relate a few facts in order to assist the reader in forming an idea of the manner in which life is commonly passed among the Ita­lians.

Among people in the highest ranks of life, as well as among those who pretend to be much con­versant with books, there are in all countries many who profess to be deists and atheists; and of these I have reasons for saying, there are some in almost all our cities and towns of Italy: but as their number is not very considerable, when compared with the mass of the people, and as most of them conform in outward appearance to the established mode of worship, it is not necessary to notice them particu­larly, and point out the methods some of them have taken by means of the press, to spread their pernicious doctrines through the country.

This little preamble leads me to observe that, in general, when a true Italian rises in the morning, the first action he performs is that of crossing him­self, and saying his prayers by his bed-side.

[Page 220]These prayers commonly consist of a paternoster, an ave maria, and an angele dei, with the addition of the ten commandments, and the five of the church.

As we are all brought up in the habit of saying these prayers to our mothers and nurses, who make it a point to din them in our ears every morning, even before we can well speak; it may be easily believed there are few among us who leave off the custom, even when infancy is passed; as we are further confirmed in it by our masters at school, and our catechists at church, who incessantly re­commend and inculcate to young people the indis­pensable necessity of this duty. Breakfast is with them very different according to the age and con­dition of people. Young persons are seldom or ever permitted to drink any thing hot in a morn­ing, as is usual in England. Their breakfast is dry bread, or bread and cheese, or bread and fruit, such as the season affords. Nor are they permitted to drink coffee and chocolate, which are taken for breakfast by all people of fashion: it being a preva­lent idea in Italy, that any thing hot in a morning ruins the teeth of young persons, and weakens their constitution.

As to the generality of peasants and working peo­ple, they make their breakfast of polenta, a kind of [Page 221] pudding, made with the flour of Turkey corn, on which, whilst it is hot, they spread some fresh but­ter, with the addition of a slice of cheese, and a few walnuts, if they can afford it. Tea, is never seen among the lower order of people. Ladies of fashion used formerly to drink a small bason only when troubled with a cold; but its use is gradually creeping in among the better sort of people, espe­cially in the maritime towns.

The Italians are in general very early risers, espe­cially in summer. A great many who have no country houses, in which they spend that season, go very often at sun-rise with their whole family to breakfast in the fields at some distance from the towns. There they carry cold meat, sausages, cheese, fruit, and wine, spread a napkin on the grass, near some brook or spring, and make a most chearful meal; and then, before the heat of the sun becomes intense, return home to their respective occupations: this morning exercise is esteemed by them very salutary and necessary, especially for chil­dren. This custom, however, prevails only among the middle class of people, and does not extend to those of high rank, who live in Italy nearly after the same manner with their equals in other coun­tries, always breakfasting at home, except some­times [Page 222] for a frolic when they are at their country seats.

Though, in the Sardinian dominions, every person from the King to the meanest peasant, dines ex­actly at 12 o'clock, yet in other parts of Italy it is the custom to dine two or three hours later. The place of distinction is the seat farthest distant from the door, at which the victuals are brought in; and this place is generally allotted to the oldest female in company, or to a stranger. All the rest, both men and women, seat themselves promiscuously. The trouble of carving is not left to the ladies as in England. At the tables of persons in a middling sphere of life the men carve; and at those of peo­ple of fashion there is generally a servant out of livery, whose business it is to carve at the sideboard for the company. A common dinner begins with a French soup, and sometimes with a large dish of rice, macaroni, or legumes; then follow the boiled meats; after them the roast meats; and last of all the cheese and fruit; nor is it usual to dine in any other order. People of fashion have their French cooks as in England, and their dinners are nearly upon the same scale with people of rank in all the different courts of Europe.

[Page 223]The ladies in general drink nothing but water at their meals; but the men take two or three large tumblers of wine during meals: it is not the custom to drink to the health of any person, whe­ther present or absent, except a foreigner be in­vited. In that case, healths are drank once or twice, in compliment to the custom of foreigners, with which every one is acquainted. Healths are also drank at bridal dinners, in favour of the new married couple.

As soon as dinner is over, every thing on the table, except the cloth, is removed, and liquors are brought, of which there are a great many kinds made in Italy; and these, when the servants have dined, are succeeded by coffee. In those parts of Italy where the winter is very cold, a fire is kept under the table all the time of dinner, and I re­member the time, says Baretti, when it was usual in summer for every guest to have water to put his feet in, during the time of dinner, but this strange custom is now left off.

In summer, almost every one goes to sleep for an hour or two after dinner, either in an easy chair or on a bed. For this reason it is not the custom to dress before dinner as in England; but people ge­nerally eat their dinners in their banians or morn­ing [Page 224] gowns; and when they have been obliged to dress after breakfast, in order to go out, they un­dress again to be more at their ease at table: but this custom does not extend to the nobility or peo­ple of condition, who have long adopted the cus­tom of sitting down to table full dressed, which sub­jects them to the inconvenience of dressing again, if they sleep after dinner.

In summer time, few people like to stay at home in the evening, but as soon as the sun begins to ap­proach the horizon, women, as well as men, go out to walk till night, as many together as possible for the sake of conversation. Their place of resort is that where the great people are taking the air in their coaches. This promenade usually lasts for an hour or so after sun set. When their walk is finish­ed, they return home to supper, which always begins with some sort of sallad, and ends with fruit. After supper they again go out and walk, the nobility excepted, who repair to some house where there is a conversazione. Those who go out after supper, ramble through the streets, in large parties, and enjoy the fresh air, listening to the music and singing of those who divert themselves and their friends with their serenades, of which there are several, every fine evening, in all the great towns. Thus, the streets are more thronged by [Page 225] night than in the day. This kind of diversion ge­nerally lasts till midnight, and often till one or two in the morning; these parties then break up, and people return home, repeat the prayers of the morning, and retire to rest.

Such is the usual tenor of life in Italy. Few Ita­lians amuse themselves at any kind of play in sum­mer: but in winter they beguile their cold and long evenings with cards; and in the eastern parts of Italy with chess, backgammon, tric-trac, and other such like games. Of their games with cards, which are peculiar to this country, we shall hereafter speak.

An Italian, though but one degree above the vulgar, never sets down to table, without having previously washed his hands, especially in summer: and the water, for this purpose, is administered by a servant. No water-glasses are used in Italy after meals, as in England; but if any person chuses to wash his hands or mouth, he quits the table and retires to another part of the room.

As for the article of food, there are not many singularities to notice, excepting that few Italians can endure beef at their tables. Many English ministers, at the Italian courts, and many of the [Page 226] English domesticated in the country, admiring the beef in Italy, have endeavoured to bring the eating of it into vogue, and would persuade the Italians to eat it roasted. One nobleman had the good nature to send for a butcher from England to shew those of Turin how to cut up an ox. Yet his en­deavours proved fruitless, nor was he able to re­move the foolish prejudice, that beef is gross food, fit only for the common people, by whom alone it is eaten except some of the choice pieces, used for bouilli; nor will the common people eat it roasted, but either boil, stew, or make it into pies, highly seasoned with pepper, garlic, onion and other strong ingredients.

Salted beef is disliked even more than roasted; nor is salt meat of any kind ever brought to polite tables except tongues and sausages. The princi­pal meat is veal, and though in some places it is eaten young, yet in general the calves are not killed till they are six or seven months old. Pork is in great esteem, and reckoned excellent as well by foreigners as by the inhabitants; and there are fowls of all kinds in abundance, both tame and wild. Kid and lamb are frequently eaten, but mutton very seldom; because in general it is not good in any part of Italy, except that which comes from Switzerland, and the upper [Page 227] part of the Appennines. The common people eat mutton bred in the level part of Italy, and it any person above the vulgar, has a mind, for the sake of variety, to a leg or shoulder, it is always roasted, and plentifully stuffed with garlic, sage and rose­mary. Large joints of meats are never served up at Italian tables, except in families numerous enough to consume the whole in a day; and for this reason, because in countries where the heat for many months is so great, it does not answer to keep victuals for the following day.

On meagre days, which by the bye, are declin­ing very fast in Italy, the sea, lakes, rivers, and fish-ponds, furnish most of the cities with great variety of fish; as the gardens and fields do with vegetables, which the Italian cooks dress in several very palatable ways, with the assistance of butter, cheese, spices, anchovies, capers, and other in­gredients, and particularly mushrooms and truffles; which many provinces of Italy afford in abundance, and of the most delicate kind. Great quantities of salt-fish are also eaten in Lent, dressed in different ways not known in England.

Potatoes are not eat in this country. Such is the repugnance that the generality of mankind have to eat what they are not accustomed to, that the [Page 228] captain of an English vessel, who brought a large cargo of potatoes to Naples, during a great famine, was obliged to throw them overboard; as he could not find persons who would accept them even as a present. And yet there are several little nations, if they may be so called along the ridges of the Apennines, who eat scarce any thing else for a great part of the year, except chesnuts, of which they make even bread; and many of the peasants in other parts, live almost entirely on polenta.

When the Italians have taken their afternoon nap, their servants attend them with lemonade, and other cooling drinks kept in ice. Of these they drink plentifully not only then, but at all hours of the day; nor do they want these refresh­ments, great quantities of ice and snow, being preserved in every part of Italy for the hot months. Should there be a scarcity of them, which happens but seldom, the inhabitants lament it almost as much as a famine. At Venice where it would be difficult to have ice-houses under ground, on ac­count of the sea, ice is brought every evening from the continent: and there are laws, obliging per­sons who keep coffee-houses, to provide the town with so necessary an article; as it would much distress labouring people, could they not cool the wine at their meals with ice, and quench their [Page 229] thirst as often as they have occasion with ice water.

Having mentioned the morning prayers, of the Italians, we will now give some account of the manner in which they acquit themselves, of those duties, imposed on them by their religion. Like the English, the Italians are not very fond of going to church on week-days; yet there are some women especially, who go to hear mass every morning, and receive the benediction in the evening.

Many of our readers know, or may easily in­form themselves, what masses and benedictions are; it will therefore be superfluous to describe them. We have likewise, already related how magnificent the churches of Italy are. On holi­days, before day-break, their bells are in motion, and the lower class of people, running to hear mass. As every church has at least three altars, and the priests and friars are numerous; so there are in all churches masses to be heard, from the very first appearance of the morning, till towards the afternoon.

A little after ten, the genteel people begin to make their appearance; the ladies attended by [Page 230] their servants and gallants. A gallant who escorts his lady to church, on approaching the door, steps forward to hold up the curtain, placed within the entrance, and advances to the holy water, into which he dips the extremity of his middle finger, and offers it to her, that she may cross herself, which she immediately does, not forgetting to re­turn him her thanks, by a half curtesy.

In the Italian churches are no pews; only benches or chairs, and for the double purpose of sit­ting or kneeling. In those churches, where there are only chairs, the servants or sexton gives one to any lady or gentleman. But where there are only benches, a lady immediately goes where she sees a place vacant, or if all are occupied, where a man is seated. On the approach of a woman, though but tolerably dressed, and no matter what may be her age, a man immediately rises, and gives up his place to her. She kneels for an instant, crosses herself; mumbles over a short prayer, generally an ave maria; and if there be no mass going forward at any of the altars, sits down till one begins. But if there is one just ready to commence, she continues kneeling, till it is a little advanced; then sits; and kneels no more, till she hears the little bell ring, when the priest elevates the host. [Page 231] Her kneeling at this instant, is accompanied with a very humble attitude, and an air of recollection.

When this mass is over, she sits still a while, then kneels again; mutters another ave maria, or some other short prayer, crosses herself, takes up the prayer-book, in which she has been reading the greatest part of the mass, gives it to her servant or gallant, crosses herself again; curtesies to the great altar, then goes to the holy water, and after again crossing herself, curtesies a second time to the altar, and then walks out of church, if she has no further business in it; that is, if she does not go to confess, which devout ladies make a rule to do once a month.

With respect to the men, they generally stand, while they are at church, especially the young and gay; and only bend the right knee a little, and in­cline the head, at the elevation of the host; and what is still less exemplary, often whisper to each other, and make their remarks on the ladies, who come in and go out. For this, they are upbraided in due time by the Lent Preachers, who point out to them the scandal they offer to religion, by such preposterous conduct, and remark to them the great decorum observed even by Turks and heretics, in their acts of devotion.

[Page 232]Though the churches as well as the masses are numerous, yet some are astonishingly crouded on holidays; it being the custom, for no person to ab­sent himself from church on a holiday, not even those, who make light of religion; it being one of the settled modes for filling up of time. In all the great towns there are two or three churches called alla moda (fashionable) in which the best company is collected a little before noon.

Contrary to the custom of the French, who are fond of resorting in an aftertoon to vespers, the Italians do not attend them. But they croud in the evening to the benediction, which is rendered a most glorious sight by the immense splendor of lights, and solemnity of short prayers set to music, and the great concourse of people of fashion. This last is an inducement not to be passed unno­ticed, as the Italians never like to go to any place not visited by the ladies. The priests and friars, know very well how to fill their churches with ladies, at a benediction, by giving them some fine piece of music, as they return from their evening walk, to the opera, the conversazione, or the play. The priests, by thus filling the church, are sure to make it turn to their advantage, as they have one or two persons going round the church collecting alms by [Page 233] means of a bag, fastened to the end of a long pole.

Few of the very great people are scarce ever seen at church, they having chapels of their own. This privilege they easily obtain from Rome, at a very small expence: and when they have a chapel, some poor priest is soon found, who for a few pence will come to say mass to them, any morning they chuse.

Such is the general manner, of spending a holi­day in Italy, with respect to the religious duties attending it. There is no need of observing, that this account regards only, what is called, the polite part of the nation. As to the lower class of people, they are in general strict followers of such modes of worship as are prescribed to them by their eccle­siastical superiors.

It requires the talents of a painter, rather than a writer, to give clear idea of the variety of dresses, in the several parts of Italy. This variety however, appears more in the dress of the women, than of the men; and that of the women too, of the lower rank. The men throughout Italy, dress, as in most other parts, except the Nobles of Venice and Genoa, whose habits are peculiar to themselves, [Page 234] and to those few among their subjects in each town, who have the privilege of dressing like them. Their dress we have already noticed, in our account of those two republican states. At Rome the bet­ter sort of people, and even married men, dress for the greater part like abbots: and these are all the deviations from the common fashion, observable in Italy among the men. But with regard to the women, it is not an easy task to describe the pecu­liar fashions of their dress in different cities. In some parts the women cover only their head; in others their head and shoulders, in others again, all the upper part of the body; and some their whole figure, from head to foot. In some places the women cover their gowns from the waist down­ward with a black petticoat, as if they wished to conceal the richness or elegance of their dress.

Gentlemen throughout Italy, in the summer months, dress in the thinnest silks, and wear velvet in winter, besides cloth of different kinds and colours; and very much laced and embroidered by those who can afford it, the Italians being as fond of finery as the French. In winter they also line their coats with expensive furs, and in many parts, when young, adorn their hats with feathers. They likewise wear large muffs. The men wear swords in all parts of Italy, except Venice, where [Page 235] the narrowness of the streets and the gondolas would make them inconvenient. Even strangers at Venice, leave their swords at home, and put on a cloak.

The poorest peasantry in many parts of Italy, wear neither hat, cravat, stockings, nor shoes; nay in some of the southern provinces, they only put on a coarse unbuttoned shirt and trowsers in summer, and wear a very ordinary coat in winter, but still go bare-legged. Yet it is observable, that upon the whole they are much larger limbed, and better made than the Piedmontese, Lombards, and Venetians, who cloath themselves much better. The Apulians, and Calabrians especially, are spoken of, as the finest race of men in Europe, taking the word fine in the sense of painters, and not of young ladies.

The Italians are no great fox-hunters. It is not the custom in Italy, as in England, to go out a fox-chasing. Perhaps the winters are too cold, and the summers too hot, for such diversion; or it may be the plains are too narrow, the mountains too steep, and the rivers too rapid, and too many for this exercise. Yet some of the Italian princes have their hunting-seats, and sometimes hunt the stag, and the wild boar, and even the wolf. But this [Page 236] makes no part of the national character, and in general the Italians are not fond of such dangerous exercises. They take more delight in fowling, and laying snares for the feathered creation, in which, perhaps, no nation in Europe is so dexterous as the Italians, who among other inventions for this purpose, have that of the Roccolo, a short ac­count of which may not be unacceptable.

A Roccolo is a circular piece of ground, gener­ally on an eminence, at some distance from any wood. This spot of ground is planted with trees, in a circular direction. The diameter of the circle may be about thirty or forty feet. These trees are covered on one side with a net, which remains upon them, as long as the sporting time lasts. The area within the circle is also planted with trees of a less size, and has in its center, a green bushy hut, containing many cages full of thrushes, bull-finches, chaff-finches, and such kinds of small birds. A little distance from these cages, there is an owl placed, which has been long used to eat his food perching on a short pole, the upper end of which is formed into a kind of small cushion, stuffed with rags or straw.

On one side of the circular row of trees a tower is built, about 20 feet high, the brick work of which, [Page 237] is concealed by leaves and branches of vine, ivy, and other creeping plants.

At that season of the year, when birds are on their passage to other countries, the Roccolista; that is the man who owns a Roccolo, ascends the tower two or three hours before sun-rise. At the top is a small room where he stands; and from the window he keeps a sharp look-out, towards that part of the horizon, from whence the birds come. As soon as he sees or hears any, he gives a jirk to a long string fastened to the leg of the owl, in the green hut below. The owl with this sudden jirk falls to the ground, from the pole or cushion on which he was resting, but presently hops upon it again. The moment however that he falls, he is perceived by the birds in the cage, who gives a sud­den cry, which sportmen say is for joy, pretending that all birds are rejoiced at the sight of the owl. This cry is heard by the birds flying in the air, who all immediately plunge precipitately into the Roc­colo, as if wanting to see what was the matter. The Roccolista who foresees what will be the con­sequence of the shricks made by his little prisoners in the cages, stands prepared with several short pieces of wood, to throw them at the flying birds. These pieces of wood by the means of some wicker work on each side, very much resemble a kite on [Page 238] the wing. As soon as the birds approach the ground within the area, without giving them time to alight on the branches of the green hut, he throws as quick as possible several of his false kites over their heads, and thus frightens them; upon which, in order to escape the mock enemy through the circular trees, they run directly into the net that covers these trees; and are thus caught in great numbers, sometimes a thousand or more every morning, if their flight was numerous, and the Roccolo in a favourable situation; nor does the Roccolista descend from the tower, till the sun be­comes so powerful as to restrain the birds from their flight, and oblige them to seek shelter. The least noise in a Roccolo would make the birds keep at a considerable distance; therefore the Rocco­lista keeps quite still and silent, only whistling from time to time, through several tin whistles, hanging to his neck, by means of which he mimics with great exactness, the chirping of several kinds of birds. All birds lie very still, when they feel themselves entangled in a net, except the kite, who is often caught in the Roccolo, when too eager in his pursuit of small birds. A kite as soon as he finds himself entrapped, squeaks out as loud as he can; but there is always a man attending the Roc­colista, at the bottom of the tower, ready to wring off his neck.

[Page 239]Besides the Roccolo, and the common method of spreading nets, or going out with a fowling-piece, there are divers other ways of catching birds. One, which may be called peculiar to the Italians, is that used on those lakes abounding with birds of the web-footed sort. There, in the proper season of the year, a hundred little boats or more, if the breadth of the lakes makes it necessary, are pro­vided. Each of these besides the rower contains a sportsman, with a number of hand-guns ready loaded. The boats start all together in a line, from one side of the lake, and make towards the oppo­site, where the game is flown, at the sight of so many boats and people. As the boats approach them, the affrighted birds all rise in a cloud to a certain height, and fly towards the side of the lake, from whence the sportsmen started; and as they are passing over, each sportsman discharges his fowl­ing pieces as fast as he can, and occasion many of the birds to fall into the water, and frequently in the boats. As this sort of sport is not less noisy than pleasant, there are many ladies, who partake of it, and prove excellent marks-women, being not in the least afraid of the report of a gun. When the chace is over, the dead fowls are collected, and divided among the sportsmen.

[Page 240]On the lagunas, round Venice, there is also ano­ther singular method of killing great quantities of the palmipedous birds, which are there in great plenty. Several empty and uncovered tubs are sunk in the shallows, within two or three inches of the brim, and placed at a proper distance from each other. A great number of sportsmen, well pro­vided with small fowling pieces, ready loaded, and cartridges to load again, if necessary, repair in boats to these tubs before break of day; get into them and send away the boats. As soon as day light ap­pears, the birds fly about in search of their food. The sportsmen, who stand peeping over the brim of their tubs, shoot at all those which come within their reach. This sport lasts a good part of the morning, and when it is over, the watermen come and fetch the sportsmen out of their tubs; row about collecting the dead floating birds; then all go merrily together to land, where the game is fairly divided.

There are many other methods used in Italy for making a prey of all kinds of birds, though none so singular as these already mentioned.

Though the better sort of people among the Ita­lians are not very fond of procuring themselves pleasure by violent exercise, it is otherwise with [Page 241] the common people; and the mentioning some of their diversions, which approach the nearest to the ancient palestrical games, will possibly not be thought improper, as tending to give a more com­plete idea of the manners of the people of this country.

One of the most general games, and peculiar to Italy, is the Pallone. A Pallone is a leather ball, filled with hair, about the size of a large pumpkin. Twelve persons generally play at this game; six against six. No one is reckoned a good player who cannot throw the ball to the distance of a hun­dred yards at least with one blow. The ball is struck with a wooden instrument, called a bracciale, which, in shape, bears some resemblance to a muff, and is entirely covered with short wooden spikes, cut in the form of a diamond.

The player introduces his hand and arm into this instrument, almost up to his elbow, and firmly grasps a peg fixed across in the inside of the bracciale. Thus armed, and lightly clad, each player being previously posted at a proper distance from each other, they set to it with great alertness, six against six, and strike the pallone backwards and forwards, with as much strength and dexterity as they can, when it comes in their way, or run to it [Page 242] when at a distance, all endeavouring to make it ultimately fall far from themselves, and into the ground occupied by their antagonists, much in the same manner as the players of tennis.

This game, which cannot be played but in some spacious place, and best by the side of some high wall, or long range of building, is very common in summer, towards the latter part of the evening, in almost all the towns and villages of Italy: It is even usual for the players of one town to send chal­lenges to those of another, though at the distance of a hundred miles or more, and invite them to try their skill for a stipulated sum. On this occa­sion great crowds of people resort to see them play, nor are gentlemen and people of rank sometimes averse to be inrolled in the list of players.

In the upper parts of Italy they have a custom during the spring months, to peel off the bark from a high poplar tree, and strip it of all its branches in such a manner as to make the trunk perfectly smooth. When the tree is thus prepared, they hang on the top a considerable quantity of hams, fowls, and other eatables, which are not to be pro­cured, but by ascending the tree. The most vi­gorous of the young peasants embrace the trunk vigorously, and one at a time, as they are drawn by [Page 243] lot: and helping themselves by fastening a rope round the tree as they ascend, alternately tying and untying, they endeavour to obtain the proffered premium. But most of them, some from a greater and others from a lesser height, are successively borne down; and, for want of sufficient strength and dexterity, slide down with great velocity to the ground, to the no small diversion of the numerous spectators of both sexes. But he who is so robust and skilful as to reach the top, and throw down the eatables, not only has them to himself, but instantly becomes so great a favourite with the young maidens round the country, that happy is she to whom he deigns to pay his addresses, and shall ask in mar­riage.

In some parts of Piedmont the young peasants have another method of amusing themselves, singu­lar enough; this is to stand erect in their carts, drawn by oxen, intoxicated with wine. These drunken animals, as it may well be imagined, run at a prodigious rate, the moment they are let loose, pricked and frightened as they are by the shoutings and hideous clamour of a numerous rabble. The carts are frequently drawn out of the road, over uneven ground, and not seldom overturned in ditches and hollow places, to the great danger of the fellows riding in them, who thus madly expose [Page 244] their life and limbs. Yet the vanity of appearing superior to their neighbour, operates alike on the human heart, whether rustic or civilized; and the desire of acquiring distinction, as well as the cer­tainty, in case of good success, that they will be­come considerable in the eyes of their sweet-hearts, makes the young peasants of Piedmont venture upon so perilous an exploit, with the greatest intre­pidity and alacrity. In this district of Italy they had also the battajola, as they called it; that is a battle, regularly fought every holiday in the after­noon, between the inhabitants of one part of Tu­rin against those of another; the numbers of each side being always very much increased by the pea­sants. The place of action was under the walls of Turin, on the side of the river Po. There the par­ties, which sometimes amounted to several thou­sands, flung stones at each other from slings for many hours, with inexpressible fury; each party endeavouring to put the opposite side to flight, and make them prisoners, when they immediately shaved their heads, and otherwise very much in­sulted them, before they were dismissed. The bat­tajola usually began by boys on both sides, but ge­nerally ended with men, who were gradually fired at the sight of the combat, and by the yielding of the boys when overpowered by their opponents. Many were the heads broken on such occasions, and [Page 245] scarce a holiday passed without some person being killed. This ancient custom was, in a great mea­sure, abolished by the present king, on the mar­riage of his third wife; for it happened that the new queen, desirous of seeing the battajola, went with a great retinue, to view it from the gardens belonging to the royal palace, chusing a place that was thought out of the reach of a sling. Yet it so happened that one of the slingers had the insolence to sling a stone where she was, which struck one of her ladies. This made the King resolve to put an end to this brutal diversion by a severe proclama­tion, and by sending soldiers to disperse the rabble, as soon as they prepared to assemble; so that at present the battajola consists only of a few daring boys, who go to fight at a much greater distance from the town, than they used to do before that ac­cident happened.

Nor are these the only perilous amusements prac­tised in Italy. Those who delight in v$ewing prints may possibly recollect having seen one by a famous master, called Il ponte di Pisa, (or the bridge of Pisa) representing a kind of battle, which used often to be fought on the bridge of that town, by two parties; the combatants clad in iron armour, with helmets on their heads, and furiously wielding heavy clubs, in order to get possession of the [Page 246] bridge. Numbers in the scuffle had their heads broken, in spite of their helmets and armour; and many more were beaten or pushed headlong into the river Arno, underneath. It is true, that those who thus fell, were immediately taken out of the water by boats, placed in the river on purpose; but as too many lives were lost every year on this bar­barous diversion, Government put a stop to it, and only a few boys are now suffered to fight occasion­ally with their fists, for the conquest of this bridge; a practice very customary at Venice. It is observa­ble that, in the prints abovementioned, the com­batants are represented to be naked, though, in fact, they fought completely armed.

Their bull-fights, horse-races, and regattas we have already noticed, under the articles of Venice, Rome, and Tuscany. We shall therefore conclude this review of the customs and manners of the Ita­lians, with a short account of their in-door amuse­ments; particularly their games of cards, some of which appear more complicated than ours.

That man, says Barelli, would certainly appear extraordinary, if not ridiculous, who should at­tempt to appreciate the different degrees of mental power, possessed by the principal European na­tions, by drawing inferences from those portions of [Page 247] wit necessarily employed, when they play at their national games. Forbearing, therefore, to enter into this subtle disquisition, says the above writer, I will only observe, that it is not without reason the English are proud of their game of whist, the French of picquet, and the Spaniards of ombre, three of the best games of cards possessed by these nations. To obtain a victory, or prevent being de­feated, at any of them, requires so much quickness and sagacity, that no wonder even men of good parts are flattered, when praised for their skill in either of these games.

Which of them demands most skill I will not take upon me to determine; but this I will ven­ture to affirm, that three or four of our Italian games of cards are as much superior in this respect to whist, picquet, and ombre, as chess is to Polish drafts. The games I mean, are those which we form out of those cards called Minchiate and Taroc­co's: the first played all over Tuscany, and in the dominions of the Pope; the second, in Piedmont and Lombardy. I crave the indulgence of the reader for endeavouring to give him some idea of both these games, to make him sensible that the Italians, who have often appeared great in those arts, considered great by mankind, are also great in those that mankind regard as little.

[Page 248]Both the minchiate and the taroccos consist of five suits instead of four, as in other packs of cards. Four of these five suits correspond with the four suits of the common cards, with the addition only of one card to the three figured ones in each suit; so that, instead of king, queen, and knave, we have king, queen, knight, and knave. As to the fifth suit it consists of 41 cards in the minchiate, and 22 in the taroccos; and this fifth suit is called by a name answering to trumps in English. Both these games may be played by only two or three people several ways; but the most ingenious, and the most in use, are two or three games played by four peo­ple, more especially one which is played by one against three, in the same manner as ombre, and another played two against two, something like whist.

By this the reader will see, that each of these games must necessarily be much superior to whist and ombre, on account of the greater number of combinations produced, either by the 97 cards of the minchiate, or by the 78 of the tarocco; which combinations cannot but give a larger scope to the imagination, than the lesser number of 40 at ombre, or 52 at whist, and oblige the player to exert his memory and judgment more than at the latter of these games.

[Page 249]Strangers object to the games of minchiate and tarocco, because they produce so many combi­nations as to prove fatiguing; but if this argu­ment carries conviction, we must of course con­clude, that chess is less delightful than loo, because it forces the mind to a greater recollection of its powers than loo. This reasoning is certainly just, with regard to sluggish minds, but will not hold with respect to those that are lively and compre­hensive. Those Italians, however, whose minds are much too contracted and disproportionate to the taroccos and minchiate; or who do not choose to exert their talents too much, have still the means of diverting themselves with several other games of cards, that require no greater compass of imagina­tion, or strength of memory and understanding, than whist, picquet, and ombre; and others still, pretty nearly on a footing with humble loo itself.

"Many strangers (concludes Barretti) are sur­prized that the Italians learn their games with so much facility, as in a little time to play at them with as much address as the best players among themselves. Hence they infer that Italy abounds in gamblers more than other countries; but would they not speak with greater justness, were they pleased to say—that the Italians, accustomed to [Page 250] more complicated games, easily learn those which, comparatively speaking, require less wit, and less attention?"

CHAP. XXIV. Of the present State of Italian Literature, and of the learned Professions in Italy.

LEARNING is now cultivated in Italy, as well as in other parts of Europe, more out of regard to its use and convenience in common life, than from any great hopes, by its means, of acquir­ing honour or emoluments. The stock of books, on all kinds of subjects, is become so ample, that learned and ingenious men cannot now have that facility which their predecessors had, of making themselves known to their cotemporaries, and re­commending themselves to public notice, by hand­ling any new subject. A Cardinal's hat is not now to be grasped by climbing the ladders of Greek and Latin; a learned man may, indeed, obtain some [Page 251] petty advantages by his industry, or by chance; but a bishopric in Italy, as well as in England, is seldom the reward of merit and learning. "What­ever a studious recluse, surrounded by his books, may think of the illustrious age of Leo, when I con­sider the wonderful progress, (says Baretti) that all sciences have made in Europe, within these three last centuries, I am tempted to think that, exclusive of the knowledge of the learned languages, the li­terature of the English women alone, would prove not much inferior to the real knowledge of that il­lustrious age, with which shallow satyrists, and peevish poets, of all countries, reproach the degene­racy of their own."

Granting, however, that the modern Italians are not so studious and learned as their cinquecentisti an­cestors of Leo's age (a name given to the learned of the 16th century) yet it is presumptuous in fo­reigners to suppose the Italians are quite destitute of literary merit.

Let any Englishman enter the public libraries of Italy, and he will no longer boast those of Oxford, Cambridge, and the Museum. The libraries of Milan, Venice, Florence, and Rome, stand in no need of additional shelves to vic with the most fa­mous English ones. Misson, in his Travels, reckons [Page 152] 14 in Venice alone, some larger than that of St. Mark, and almost all public. In Turin, Pavia, Parma, Padua, Pisa, Modena, Bologna, and Na­ples, there are likewise ample collections of books for public use; nor is there scarce a town or a convent in Italy without a public or private library.

It would be endless to enumerate all the stores of learning thus accumulated in various parts of Italy; and the Italians are not so absurd to keep their libraries for meer shew, or for the pleasure of feed­ing moths and mice. Many learned men are to be found in them, whose lives were early devoted to the acquisition of knowledge. Ambition and cu­riosity act upon the inhabitants of Italy with full as much vigour as they do in other countries.

But few are the cultivators of science whose names are wafted by fame to distant regions, during their lives; the greatest part must be content to enjoy re­nown only in those places which gave them birth. They cannot all have a King of Prussia for a patron and panegyrist, who will deign to gild the silver of Voltaire, and the copper of Algarotti.

Though extended literary reputation, however, be scarce attainable by the sons of learning, while [Page 153] they live; and though the approaches towards it be gradual and slow, yet the names of some living authors have reached England, and other parts of Europe; and those of Metastasio, the Poet; Mor­gagni, the Anatomist; Frisio, the Mathematician; and Father Beccaria, the Electric Philosopher; are not unknown on the other side of the Alps.

After this slight sketch of their literature, it may not be amiss to mention the advantages which the Italians may reasonably expect from applying them­selves to a life of study. An information of this kind will lead our English readers into an acquaint­ance with such parts of their customs, as no other traveller has yet made an object of his attention.

In Italy, when a young man is trained up to physic, he has it in his power to get his livelihood in a very short time; if he will apply to it in such a manner as to acquire reputation. On quitting the university, which is generally done after a residence of seven years, and having took all his degrees, he goes to serve as a volunteer in some great hospital, or puts himself to a kind of apprenticeship with one of the most eminent physicians in a capital town; that he may now learn the practice, as he is supposed to have already done the theory of the art.

[Page 254]The Italian physicians visit all their patients, with their pupils constantly attending them, whom they oblige to inspect minutely all the disorders that fall in their way, and notice the remedies they prescribe.

This kind of life they generally follow, till an op­portunity offers of being chosen physician to an hospital, or to go in the same capacity to some small town or village. When a vacancy offers, there are generally several competitors. But the young physician who has acquired the best cha­racter for skill in his profession, and prudence in private life, has most chance of succeeding in his application. His success however depends on the suffrages of the corporation, who are not always in­fluenced in their choice by superior merit. Par­tiality will sometimes interfere, and give an ap­pointment to one, which ought to be bestowed on another.

When the appointment is obtained, the young practitioner keeps it till he hears of a better, and then offers himself a candidate for that. By these means they shift from place to place, that is, from a smaller appointment to a greater.

[Page 255]No patient, in any provincial town, is obliged to fee the physician for his attendance, as he is allowed by the corporation a salary for that pur­pose. All families, however, whether they have occasion for one or not, send him some little pre­sent at Easter and Christmas; which consists of a lamb or kid, hams, sausages, capons, game, oil, wine, corn, or the like. The poorest peasant would be ashamed not to send at least a couple of fowls to his physician, during the holidays.

If a village is so small as not to afford a suf­ficient salary, it is annexed to one or two more in the neighbourhood, and the physician is then enabled to keep a horse or a chaise. It is also the business of the corporation to provide a lodging for him, when he is obliged to make a stay among them, and be absent from his usual place of residence. If the place, on the contrary, is too large for one physician, the corporation calls in the assistance of another, who is paid and elected like the first.

The salaries, with the presents, are equivalent, upon a medium, to a capitation of two shillings per head; and few of the appointments contain less than 300 souls; nor do they, in general, ex­ceed 7 or 800. So the provincial physicians get about 30 or 40l. a-year, in the smallest places [Page 256] and about 70 or 80 in the largest; and either of these afford a sufficient competence, as there is no provincial town in Italy, where a middling fa­mily may not be decently maintained with the smallest of these sums.

All physicians, however, do not proceed in this manner. Some act for many years as substitutes for their principals, and set up in great cities, where many of them have acquired very easy fortunes.

Whether this method of proceeding, with regard to the practice of physic, be preferable to that used in England, I will not take upon me to determine. It may perhaps be less lucrative to some of the pro­fessors of medicine. But it seems more useful to the people, who are much better accommodated with the aid of physicians, regularly bred, than the lower class of people in England.

The young men who apply themselves to Sur­gery, go through life in a similar manner. As for the apothecaries, any person who chooses it, may set up for one, after having undergone proper exa­minations. But the physicians in every place, are obliged to visit, at least once a year, the shops of the [Page 257] apothecaries, where they have power to destroy all the decayed and bad drugs.

With regard to those who apply themselves to the study of the law, they are more dependent on go­vernment, than the other professions; being sent, after they have quitted the universities, as Podestas, or judges in different parts of the provinces. There a young lawyer administers both civil and criminal justice, in cases of lesser moment; but in those of importance, people must resort to higher tribu­nals.

When a young Podesta has thus administered justice for three years, a Syndic is sent to make the tour of all the places, where the Podestas reside. Public notice is then given in each respective place, of the arrival of the Syndic, and every person, with­out exception, is at liberty to lay before him any complaint against the Podesta. These complaints are immediately transmitted by the Syndic, to the highest magistrate of the state, and by him ex­amined. If found trifling, or ill-grounded, they are dismissed, but if just, redressed. But a Podesta has little chance of being promoted to a more lucrative part, if it should appear that he has not administered justice with impartiality. If he has, he is sent to a more profitable place for another triennium, and so [Page 258] on; nor is any Podesta ever kept more than three years in the same place, that he may not contract strong attachments to particular people, or run into any danger of partiality.

Besides applying for these posts, the young stu­dents take up the profession of advocate, in great cities, and have clients, much in the same manner as the counsellors in England. In this line of life, they generally fare as in England, according to their abilities and eloquence: and from this class, the chief magistrates and superior judges are chosen by government.

What the government does with respect to the law students, the bishops do with regard to those in di­vinity. These are sent as curates, rectors, or vi­cars, from the capital towns, to the villages, or small places in their district, as soon as they have obtained the order of Priesthood. But they are not removed triennally as the Podestas. They succeed like physicians to vacancies in the different towns and villages; and he who is thought best qualified, is generally preferred by the electors appointed by the bishop.

The reader is not to suppose these customs to be universal throughout Italy. The country being di­vided [Page 259] into many sovereignties of different forms, the laws and customs must consequently differ. Yet this, in the main, is the plan which each of them follow, with respect to the three professions of law, physic, and divinity.

Besides these channels, which the literati of Italy have open to them for honours and emolument, and through which they may advance to the highest posts in church and state; the universities are also open to them; and to obtain the chairs of profes­sors, generally depends on their reputation for learn­ing. The salaries annexed to the professions, are partly paid by government, and arise partly from fees and perquisites. Few of the Italian universities have lands and funds of their own, like those of Ox­ford and Cambridge.

When a person is chosen professor, he has only to continue reading his lecture, and acquire learning and credit; and he may be certain to end his days in easy circumstances, if he arrives at old age, his salary being generally augmented every seven years. After 14 years, he is at liberty to quit the university, and retire on half pay, and frequently receives the whole, if he has rendered himself useful and con­spicuous.

[Page 260]The division of Italy into so many states, makes the inhabitants of different governments almost as much strangers to each other, as if they inhabited so many islands; they seldom travelling into each others territories. This obstructs the enlargement of our capital cities, which cannot all be swallowed up in one, like London and Paris. A country so constituted, cannot afford the means of any consi­derable pecuniary advantage to such as devote their lives to those kinds of literature, independent of the three learned professions. Hence the writer who applies to poetry, history, astronomy, botany, and other branches of ornamental literature, cannot raise contributions on the public, as in Paris and London. They have likewise to encounter many difficulties in the publication. Nothing is suffered to be printed in Italy, without being first licenced by two, and sometimes more, revisers, appointed by the civil and ecclesiastical powers. These revisers are to peruse every manuscript intended for the press; and some­times their timidity or ignorance; at others, their vanity or ill-humour, raise so many objections, that a poor author is quite surfeited of his own pro­ductions. This ordeal trial is very troublesome, and should the custom be now revived in England, few writers would have phlegm enough to submit to it. Long use, however, has reconciled it to the Italians, [Page 261] and few printers there, will dare to violate the law, and print a book secretly.

Were this privilege of printing books, ad libitum, admitted in Italy, it would not fail, says Baretti, of being mischievous to the different states, without encreasing knowledge in proportion. Such a free­dom would hardly contribute to multiply the Me­tastasios and Gozzis or the Finettis and Morgagnis. But on the other hand, it would soon degenerate into licentiousness, and the times of the obscene Arelinos, and the atheistical Brunos would pre­sently be revived. Every scribbling Abatino of Rome, would then declaim in the most virulent manner against kings and emperors, did they declare war, or make peace in opposition to the interests of the Apostolic See. A ragged Birricchino of Bologna, would besmear, with his blackest ink, the hand­somest queens for encouraging foreign manufac­turers to settle in their dominions; and a stupid Laz­zerone of Naples, would be lavish of the vilest epi­thets on any little republic, that should permit their ship-wrights to build men of war, and sell them to those, who have money enough to purchase them. No public character would find shelter against that deluge of outrageous satire, which would flow from the Italian pens, and every private reputation would [Page 262] be at the mercy of any scoundrel that could rhyme.

In most of the Italian states, very few individuals have their sleep interrupted by the political mea­sures of their respective governments; but were our press set free, continues Baretti, many an oilman of Lucca, many a wine-merchant of Empoli, and many a tallow-chandler of Modena would pretend to be wiser than secretaries of state; and wonder that kings and queens had not taken them from their counters, and raised them to the highest employ­ments. Sedition, defamation, profaneness, and ri­baldry, would then quickly circulate through all our towns, villages, and hamlets. Irreligion would be substituted for bigotry and superstition: the pope would be called anti-christ, and mother-church a whore. Such would be the blessed effects of a free press in Italy, could we ever be indulged in it.

CHAP. XXV. Marriages and Funerals.

WITH respect to their marriages and funerals, people marry in Italy, as in England, after the publication of three banns; and a dispensation is easily to be procured there, as well as here, by those who do not choose to be married in a church. Great dinners and suppers are usual on such occasi­ons, in both countries; that is, among the middle and lower class of people, who adhere longest to old customs, and whose usages form the principal part of the national manners. Congratulations are customary on such occasions.

As for their funerals, little more need be said respecting them, but that the people in Italy are generally buried in their parish-church or church­yard; but few corpses are sent to distant places, to be interred in family vaults, as is the custom in England, because the Italians live in cities, and not at their country-seats, like the English nobility and gentry.

[Page 264]The principal difference between the two na­tions is, that a corpse in Italy is generally escorted to the place of interment by a large procession of priests, friars, and orphans, of both sexes, main­tained in hospitals; all with lighted tapers in their hands, and singing penitentiary psalms, litanies and other compositions adapted to the occasion. And such processions are longer or shorter; that is, more or less expensive, according to the directions of the testator, or those, whose office it is to provide for the funeral.

In travelling through Italy, a stranger should endea­vour, on reaching the first town, to obtain as many letters of recommendation as he can, to take along with him as he advances further into the coun­try. The nobility of every place, and particularly the literati, will be pleased to give such letters, and the people to whom he will be thus recommended, will still address him to others; so that in arriving in any city, he will have persons to converse with, and they will be all glad of doing some of those petty offices, which render travelling agreeable. He may indeed, often find that the persons to whom he is re­commended, are not in every respect, such as he would like. One will be over civil, another over blunt; one will be absurd in one particular, and others in several, but people must be taken as they [Page 265] are. Perfect characters are uncommon every where. A stranger, therefore, should make the best use of each. One will shew the place; another his pic­tures; a third his medals, and so on. Nor should he omit, if he makes the least stay in any place, to enquire who are the friars of most repute, and pay them a visit. To a friar, there is no need of any introduction. It is enough that you pay them the usual compliment, by telling them, you have heard of their merit, and therefore could not miss the op­portunity of paying your respects to them. They will all be extremely civil, shew their convents, their libraries, their gardens, and whatever curi­osities they have. They will give every informa­tion of their rules and manner of living, which is pretty singular in each convent, and merits notice. Most of them are very frank and open with strangers, so that it may be easily collected from their discourse, what is their sanctity or hypocrisy, their knowledge or ignorance, their pleasures or their pains. Nor should they be judged from the coun­tenance they put on at the altar, or in a procession. They must be seen in their cells, and at their tables where the rules of their order permit them to eat and drink with strangers: and thus he will come to the knowledge of as singular a set of men, as ever attracted philosophical curiosity. A traveller should [Page 266] shun nothing, slight nothing; if he is in danger from general intercourse, he is not fit to travel.

Some writers assert, that the bread and wine are bad throughout Italy, particularly the wine. This is not true. The poor people in several parts of Italy, often eat bread that is very indifferent; but people in easy circumstances, eat good bread every where. As to the wine, there is some very good in many parts of Italy, without a person is determined to allow no wine to be good, but claret and bur­gundy. And even these wines are to be met with in all great towns, and it is only for a stranger to take half a dozen bottles in his carriage, to serve him from one town to another. The like may be ob­served with respect to hams, sausages, or fowls, which may be carried, made ready for the pot or spit, with very little trouble.

The beds, indeed, are bad enough in many places, and a stranger in travelling, should endeavour never to sleep but in his own sheets; because the inn-keepers, when poor, are in general very ill stocked with linen; and to save their credit, will swear no person has slept in the sheets they offer, though the contrary is very evident; nor would it be amiss to have a thin mattrass, stuffed with feathers or Spanish wool, to throw over the mattrasses of the inn.

[Page 267]Some young travellers are very apt to be rude with the maid-servants at inns. They had better make their proposal, and had still better let it alone; for little good will they get either by their rudeness or their proposals. If the nymph be willing, there is danger on one side, if unwilling, at another. The common people in Italy, are generally very fierce, where women are concerned. Care should be taken not to be over busy with actresses and fi­gurantes, says Baretti, for they will both fleece a stranger, and bring him acquainted with surgeons and apothecaries.

Altercations with inn-keepers, postillions, and such kinds of people, should by all means be avoid­ed, and a traveller should be particularly on his guard, never to forget himself so far, as to strike any of them; for they are most of them very choleric, and there is no honour to be got by conquering them. Impetuous characters are disliked every where, and it is not to be imagined, how much the common people of Italy detest being bullied, especially by strangers. An open countenance, an affable look, a kind enquiry after their christian names, and the offer of a glass of wine, if at meals, will do wonders towards obtaining whatever may be wanted of them: for the Italians have in general quick feelings, are of a yielding disposition, and as generous a set of [Page 268] mortals, as any in the world. If some rules of this sort are not previously laid down, travelling will be no better than a continual scene of vexation and wrangling, not only in Italy, but in all countries

Credit not your travel writers, says Baretti, about the character of the Italians, or your imagination will be disturbed by the most horrible tales. There is scarce one of them who has not some story to tell of a fellow in a church, who has stabbed dif­ferent people. Yet, all over Italy, in towns or vil­lages, on great roads, or along narrow paths, a tra­veller may be assured, that no person will offend him, if he does not choose to be offended: but on the contrary, he will meet with abundance of kind­ness and respect, if he will but moderately deserve it.

All this pre-supposes some knowledge of the lan­guage, otherwise travelling in any country is disa­greeable and vexatious. Should he, however, be unprovided in this respect, let him hasten to Flo­rence or Sienne, though Florence is preferable, and labour till he has acquired a proficiency of the lan­guage. If he wishes to be any thing of a critic in Italian, Florence is the best place in all Italy, both to obtain a good phraseology, and a good pro­nunciation, as Florence is in both respects to Italy, what Athens was to Greece.



CHAP. I. Country, Climate, Mountains, Rivers, and Productions.

SWITZERLAND, the Helvetia of the Ancients, lies between France, Italy, and Germany, being bounded by Germany on the north and east, by Italy on the south, and by France on the west. It is about 225 miles in length, and 83 in breadth, and separated from the adjacent countries by high mountains, most of which are covered with snow.

Switzerland is one of the highest lands in Europe, the greatest part of it consisting of chains of hills, ranged one under another, with only narrow vallies between them; these hills also are composed of stupendous rocky masses, two, four, and even six, be­ing piled on each other, and from four to 10,000 feet high. One peak on a mountain called St. Gothard, [Page 270] is computed at 16,500 French feet. The lower parts of these high mountains are covered with woods and pastures, the herbage of which is of a re­markable length and richness. The middle parts abound in a great variety of odoriferous herbs, thickets, and bushes, as also in excellent springs, and in summer are frequented by herdsmen with their cattle. The upper parts of these mountains, consist almost entirely of craggy and inaccessible rocks, some of which are quite bare, without any herbage growing upon them, not even so much as grass; whilst others are continually covered with snow and ice. The vallies between these icy and snowy mountains, form an appearance like so many smooth frozen lakes, and vast fragments of ice often fall down from them, into the intervals of the more fruitful eminences. It is from these masses, and the thawing of the ice in general, that the greatest part of the streams and rivers in Switzerland are de­rived. The ice-mountains begin in the canton of Glarus, and, after passing through the territory of the Grisons, and from thence into the Canton of Uri, terminate in the district of Bern.

The highest of these mountains are those in the Canton of Uri, which send forth rivers to all the principal parts of the world. This is the most dreary tract of all Switzerland, and on the summit [Page 271] of the mountains, one eternal cold almost always prevails; with hard gales of wind, and very damp fogs; whereas the vallies, excepting some towns and villages, with a few fields, and still fewer vine­yards, thick woods and rich pastures, are over-run with lakes and other waters, and the summer heats there, are frequently so insupportable, that the in­habitants betake themselves to the mountains, though in winter, their houses are almost buried with snow. In many places, within a small compass, the four seasons are seen at once, and sometimes summer and winter are so near each other, that one hand may take up snow, and the other gather grow­ing flowers. During most parts of the year, the clouds lie beneath the peaks of the highest moun­tains; so that from thence they appear like a sea, the peaks projecting among them like islands. Sometimes too they break, and thus display a view of the subterjacent country. From the rising and falling of the clouds, the inhabitants form almost certain conjectures with respect to the weather. Not one of these mountains is without a cataract or water-fall, and as the eye, by reason of the interven­tion of the clouds, is not always able to reach the beginning of them, they look as if poured down from heaven upon the rocks. The water thus fal­ling from one rock to another, makes an astonishing noise, and raises a mist round it, on which, when the [Page 272] sun beams play, is formed a very beautiful sight, particularly at the foot of the cascade, where is ex­hibited an entire circle of the most lively colours. Among these mountains, are many excellent springs, some of which are medicinal, others warm, and others again cold baths, celebrated for their extraordinary virtues.

Very different from this, is the remaining and smaller part of Switzerland, including part of the Cantons of Zurich, Schafhausen, Bern, Basle, Soleur, and Friburgh, for though this district is not without mountains, some of which are even 2000, or 2500 feet high, yet it is much more level than the above-mentioned part; and the lower parts of the mountains, and sometimes also the very sum­mits are covered with vineyards, corn-fields, mea­dows, and pasture-grounds. Here are likewise no Alps, nor rocky precipices, no cataract, few trees, and, in summer, neither snow nor ice. The moun­tains, instead of being interrupted by vast chasms or abysses, are generally entire, and composed of a few small eminences; the summits of which, far from shooting out into peaks, are flat or round, to the extent of many miles, without any considerable inequality, and frequently afford not only pasturage, but also arable ground. It is only during long rains, that in these parts the clouds sink below [Page 273] the eminences. Great number of petrifications, more particularly of marine shells and plants, are found among them. The fields too, though generally stony, are fertile, and the meadows in most places, are planted with fruit trees.

Switzerland is not only divided from the coun­tries that surround it, by the mountains of the Alps, the highest in Europe, but almost every canton is divided from the other, by a ridge of hills, which are covered with snow in winter, but afford good pasture in summer.

The seasons are very different in this country, according to the different situations. If a field lies on the south side of a mountain, the snow melts early in the spring, and the seed time begins early; while on the north side, the snow lies much longer before it melts. Travellers have observed, that when it is seed time on the north side of the moun­tain, they are frequently at their harvest on the op­posite side.

No country in the world can be more agreeable to travellers during the summer, than Switzerland; for besides the commodious roads and comfortable inns, some of the most beautiful objects of nature, woods, mountains, lakes, intermingled with fer­tile [Page 274] fields, vineyards, and scenes of the most per­fect cultivation, are here presented to the eye in greater variety, and on a larger scale, than in any other country. Every body is seldom in the right, remarks Sherlock; but every body is in the right in saying, the Swiss are good people. Their country is certainly neither the favourite residence of genius nor of taste; but you will no where meet with more sensible men, or more serene foreheads.

The principal rivers are the Rhine, a name given by the Swiss to all streams and rivers in general, which have their rise in the country of the Grisons. The Reussisseris form Mount S. Gothard. The river Aar comes from the Grimsel-hill, and falls into the Rhine at Coblentz. The Rhine is first formed by a water on the Fuska chain of mountains, and runs into the lake of Geneva, from whence issuing again, it traverses the territory of that city, and then watering a small part of Savoy, enters France. The Tesin has its rise partly in two lakes on Mount S. Gothard, and mingles with the Lago Maggiore, but emerging again, enters the duchy of Milan, and lastly looses itself in the Po.

The large lakes, for the smaller ones, are innu­merable, are those of Geneva, Neuenburg, Biel, Zurich, the four forest towns, Thun and Brien, with [Page 275] many more, which shall be noticed in the descrip­tion of the several countries in which they lie. That part of the lake of Constance, which waters the borders of Thurgau, and the abbey of S. Gall, belongs also to the Helvetic confederacy.

These several rivers and lakes, are of considerable advantage to Switzerland, as supplying it with fish, and being a means of the great convenience they enjoy in water carriage.

The fossils here are very considerable, such as chalk, mundick, and several good kinds of clay for the making of earthen-ware. Slate likewise is very common in many parts; and though white marble is scarce, it abounds in coloured. There are also several kinds of crystal. Its other fossils are sand-stone, saltpetre, salt, torf, pit-coal, sulphur, &c. Gold dust too is found among the sands of some of its rivers. Switzerland also is not without silver, copper, lead, and more particularly iron ores. It must be owned, however, that the metals of this country, are generally observed to be brittle, and accordingly, all metallic attempts, a few iron mines excepted, have turned out to the disadvantage of the undertakers.

[Page 276]Switzerland is better cultivated, and more popu­lous, than people usually imagine; though in pro­portion to its extent, the number of towns, vil­lages, and people here falls much short of that in many other European countries. In several pro­vinces, there is not so much as one single town, and in the whole country, very little more than 100. The protestant cantons are better inhabited and more wealthy, than the popish; a variation owing to the convents in the latter.

The levels and vallies produce grain, but not in sufficient quantity, to answer all the demands of home consumption. Barley is sowed on the very ice mountains, the oats in a warmer soil, rye in a still warmer, and the warmest of all is assigned to spelt. In most parts, a threefold produce is accounted a tolerable harvest. Flax is much cultivated and worked, though not in sufficient quantity, and the like may be said of hemp. A beginning likewise has been made here with tobacco. The Pais de Vaud, the cantons of Bern and Schafhausen, the Valteline, and the Valais, produce the best wines in Switzerland, and of various sorts. An acre of vine­yard is worth from two to 3000 rix-dollars, each rix-dollar 4s 6d. Of apples, pears, nuts, cherries, plums, and chesnuts, Switzerland enjoys great plen­ty; and the parts towards Italy, abound in peaches, [Page 277] morelles, almonds, figs, citrons, pomegranates, and others fruits of the nobler kind. Of the first two, the inhabitants make a very palatable and strong liquor. Most of the cantons abound in timber, but in the vale of Avers, dried sheeps dung is the common fuel, and the people on the mountain of S. Gothard, burn a small shrub, called the Alprosin, and Breusch, a species of heath, the stem of which is seldom as long as a mans' little finger, and the height of the whole plant almost a foot and a half; they are ga­thered only on the mountains. Lastly, the Valais is noted for its saffron.

The inhabitants derive their principal subsistence from grazing, which is very profitable here, both the vallies and Alps, or middle parts of their enor­mous mountains, yielding excellent fodder. White meats are the usual food of the peasants, and such as labour in the mines. In the beginning of the sum­mer, their cattle are driven up among the Alps, and there committed to the care of certain persons, stiled Sennen, who are either accountable to the owners for the milk, butter, and cheese, or agree to pay a certain sum for the usufructuary possession. The Senns on all the Alps, likewise keep hogs, which are fed with the whey, after making butter and cheese. Their cheese is much esteemed in most parts of Europe, but the best is that of Bern and [Page 278] Griers in the canton of Friburgh. Great numbers of horses are brought up here for the French ca­valry.

Of wild animals, the chamois are the most re­markable, and of two different species; one mak­ing their constant abode in the highest and wildest mountains, to which scarce any access can be found; and the others, not confining themselves to the peaks and summits of mountains, but haunting likewise the woods and thickets in the vales. The chamois are very watchful animals. They usually get out in herds of 20 or 30; and while they are feeding, one of them posted on an adjacent height, stands centi­nel, and is relieved every quarter of an hour by ano­ther. The centinel looks around with great solici­tude and attention; and on the least suspicion of danger, alarming the herd by a shrill cry; instantly the whole troop decamp, one following the other.

The chamois feeds on various kinds of herbage, and particularly the rein deer licken, which is found in such great quantities, as in many parts to cover the summits and sides of the mountains. In order to get at their favourite food in winter, they, like the rein-deer, clear away the snow with their fore-feet, frequently thawing it with their breath, in order to loosen it more easily.

[Page 279]The Marmouset, in Latin, mus Alpinus, is a kind of badger, but both are most properly classed among the swine species, and towards winter, grows so exceedingly fat, as to weigh upwards of 20 pounds, by which means, it becomes an easier prey to the peasants and hunters. They burrow either in the earth or under a rock. Among the Alps is found likewise a species of hare, which, in summer, per­fectly resembles other hares, but in winter becomes entirely white; so as to be scarce distinguishable among the snow. Here are also yellow and white foxes in great numbers, which in winter come down to the vallies. The Lammergeyer, which delights in the highest peaks, is of the large eagle kind, and its wings are frequently 14 feet in breadth. This bird preys alike on wild and tame animals. There are besides several edible fowls here; such as the moorcock, the rail, snipe, partridge, and some others.

There is a stuffed specimen of that species of the chamois, which inhabits the highest and most inac­cessible mountains of the Alps, in Parkinson's Muse­um. It is called by Cox the bouquetin. The agility of this animal must be very great; for it is said, that he will mount a perpendicular rock of 15 feet at three leaps, or rather three successive bounds of five feet each. It does not seem as if he found [Page 170] any footing on the rock, appearing to touch it merely to be repelled, like an elastic substance striking against a hard body. If he is between two rocks which are near each other, and wants to reach the top, he leaps from the side of one rock to the other, alternatively, till he has attained the summit.

As it appears that this animal is extremely rare, and the description hitherto given very inaccurate and confused, some farther account of it may not be uninteresting.

The bouquetins feed during the night in the highest woods: but the sun no sooner begins to gild the summits, than they quit the woody region, and mount, feeding in their progress, till they have reached the most considerable height. They betake themselves to the sides of the mountains, which face the east or south, and lie down in the highest places or hottest exposures; but when the sun has finished more than three quarters of its course, they again begin to feed and to descend toward the woods whither they retire, when it is likely to snow, and where they always pass the winter. The bouque­tins assemble in flocks, consisting, at the most, of 12, or 15; but more usually in smaller numbers. The males, which are six years old and upwards, haunt more elevated places than the females and [Page 281] younger bouquetins; and as they advance in age, are less fond of society; they become gradually hardened against the effects of extreme cold, and frequently live entirely alone.

In summer they feed principally on the genipi, and other aromatic plants, which grow in the high Alps; and in winter they eat the lickens, and brouze on bushes, and the tender shoots of trees.

The bouquetins having their sore legs somewhat shorter than the hind legs, naturally ascend with greater facility than they descend; for this reason, nothing but the severest weather can engage them to come down into the lower regions; and even in winter, if there are a few fine days, they leave the woods and mount higher.

Winter is the season of love with them, and prin­cipally the month of January. The females go with young five months, and consequently produce in the last week of June, or the first of July. At the time of parturition, they separate from the males, retire to the side of some rill, and generally bring forth only one young, though some naturalists affirm, they occasionally produce two.

[Page 282]The common cry of the bouquetin, is a short sharp whistle, not unlike that of the chamois, but of less continuance: sometimes it makes a snort, and when young, bleats.

The season for hunting the bouquetin, is towards the end of summer, and in autumn, during the months of August and September, when they are in good condition. None but the inhabitants of the mountains engage in the chace, for it requires not only a head that can bear to look down from the greatest heights without terror, but also much strength and vigour, to support hunger, cold, and prodigious fatigue.

The most determined hunters of bouquetins, live in the mountains of the lower Valais. Two or three of them usually associate in this perilous occu­pation; they are armed with rifle-barrelled guns, and furnished with small bags of provisions; pass the night among rocks at considerable heights; and erect a miserable hut, where they lie without fire or covering, and on waking, not unfrequently find the entrance blocked up with snow, three or four feet in depth. Sometimes, in the pursuit of a bouquetin, being overtaken by darkness amid crags and preci­pices, they are obliged to pass the whole night stand­ing, embraced, in order to support each other, and [Page 283] to prevent themselves from sleeping. As the bou­quetins ascend into the higher regions very early in the morning, it is necessary to gain the heights be­fore them, otherwise they scent the hunter and fly him; it would then be in vain to follow them, for when once they begin to escape, they never stop till they think themselves entirely out of danger, and will even sometimes run for ten or twelve leagues.

The female shews much attachment to her young, and even defends it against eagles, wolves, and other enemies; she takes refuge in some cavern, and pre­senting her head at the entrance of the hole, thus op­poses the enemy.

When a bouquetin is shot, the hunters let it cool upon the spot, and then embowel it, putting the blood into one of the entrails, which is esteemed by the peasants a sovereign remedy in pleurisies, and some other disorders. A large bouquetin thus em­bowelled, will weigh 180 or 200 pounds. The horns are sometimes found to weigh 16 or 18 pounds, and to be three feet in length.

Some naturalists are of opinion, that the diminu­tion of the bouquetin in the Alps, is owing to his size, the monstrous length and weight of his horns, which impede him in his course; because he is dri­ven [Page 284] into places where he can scarcely procure suffi­cient nourishment during great part of the year, when his sight becomes debilitated, and is fre­quently lost, by the strong reflections of the sun from the ice and snow. On the contrary, it is main­tained by others, that the bouquetin is endued with strength proportionate to his size, and though he is inferior to the chamois in liveliness and agility, yet he is by no means deficient in activity; that his horns, though large and weighty, yet from their re­clined position, do not seem to be any impediment, but rather render him essential service when he hap­pens to fall, or purposely throws himself down pre­cipices, to avoid his pursuers. They add also, that his natural food is rather lickens than herbs; that he is particularly fond of the young shoots of trees and shrubs; and that in all the places where he inhabits, he is found in the coldest and rudest mountains, and on the steepest rocks. From these circumstances, it is not improbable, that his present situation and manner of life, is an effect of nature, rather than necessity. To account for the present scarcity of the bouquetins, we need only consider the number of its enemies, in men, beasts, and birds of prey. But allowing that the bouquetin was no longer found in his native Alps, still we could not affirm, with so much propriety, that the race was extinct, or that it had migrated into a milder climate, and [Page 285] with a state of domesticity, and more succulent food, had acquired softer manners, a form less rude, and smaller and smoother horns. For it is even not improbable that the hircus ferus of Belon, the bou­quetin of the Alps, the Siberian ibex, so accurately described by Pallas, and the tame goat in all its different forms, are only varieties of the same spe­cies.

CHAP. II. Of the Helvetic Union.

BEFORE we proceed to treat of the different cantons and the allied provinces of Switzer­land, it may be necessary to give a comprehensive view of the origin of the Helvetic union, in order more readily to understand the division of this coun­try, and the connexions the cantons have with each other.

The ancient Helvetians were a Gaulick or Celtic people, and Helvetia, which received its name from [Page 286] them, was divided into four cantons or territories. Julius Caesar was the first who reduced the inhabi­tants under the dominion of the Romans; which go­vernment continued till the fifth century, and then the country was over-run by the Burgundians and Germans.

While the greater part of Helvetia was subject to the Germans, the inhabitants of Uri, Schweitz, and Underwalden, three of the 13 cantons of Switzer­land, had long enjoyed the most considerable pri­vileges, particularly the right of being governed by their own magistrates. During the 12th century, various disputes between these three cantons and the Emperor, united them more firmly than ever: such was the situation at the death of the Emperor Frede­ric II. in 1250. From this period, or soon after commenced the interregnum in the empire: during which time of anarchy and confusion, the nobles and bishops endeavouring to encroach upon the privileges of the people in these cantons, put themselves under the protection of Rhodolph of Hapsburgh, who was elected to the Imperial throne in 1273. On the death of Rodolph, his son Albert not only refused to confirm the privileges granted them by his father, but likewise set over them two noblemen of the most infamous characters, whose administration became quite insupportable. Find­ing [Page 287] that nothing less was in agitation, than the total deprivation of their liberties, they united in a firm resolution to defend themselves to the last extremity. They accordingly chose for commanders, three gentlemen of approved courage and abilities, who secretly agreed, that on the first of January 1308, they should surprise and demolish all the castles, in which the Imperial governors resided.

This resolution being effected, these three can­tons joined again in a league for ten years, which gave birth to the Helvetic union.

The Emperor Albert, whilst he was preparing to attack them, was assassinated by his nephew John of Hapsburgh. This assassination was committed the first of May, 1308, in the open day, and in the sight of his son Leopold, and the rest of his court. Its oc­casion, and the circumstances attending it are sin­gular. Albert as guardian to his nephew, had taken possession of his hereditary dominions in Switzerland, and refused under various pretences, to deliver them up to him. At length, wearied with repeated and fruitless solicitations, John entered into a conspiracy against the Emperor, with Rhodolph de Warth, Ulrie de Palma, Walter de Eschenbach, and Conrad de Tagerfeld.

[Page 288]The Emperor dined at Baden, in his way to Rheinfelden, a town in Suabia, where the Empress, his consort, had collected a considerable body of troops, with which he proposed invading the three cantons. Contemporary historians, who have recorded the minutest circumstances in this whole transaction, relate that Albert was in high spirits during the re­past; and that his nephew again entreating to be put into possession of his hereditary dominion, the Emperor, with an air of banter, placed a garland of flowers upon his head, adding at the same time, "This will be more suitable to you, for the pre­sent, than the cares of a troublesome government." This taunt had such an affect upon the young prince, that he burst into tears, flung away the flowers, and could not be prevailed upon to sit down to table.

After dinner, Albert continued his journey on horseback, accompanied by his son Leopold, the con­spirators, and his usual attendants; and came near the town of Windich, in the canton of Berne, to the Reuss, over which river passengers were usually $erried upon a raft. The conspirators passed over first, and were followed by Albert: as he was riding gently on, expecting his son Leopold, and the re­mainder of his suite, he was suddenly beset by the assassins. One of them seizing his horse's bridle,


[Page 289] John of Hapsburg reproached him for his injustice in detaining his dominions, and struck him on the neck with his sword: Rhodolph de Warth wounded him in the side; and Ulrie de Palma clove his head with a sabre. In this condition they left him ex­piring on the ground. His son and attendants, though witnesses to the murder, not having passed the river, could not assist the emperor.

The assassins escaped into the cantons of Uri, Schweitz, and Underwalden, expecting to find a sure asylum in a nation which Albert was preparing to invade. But the generous natives detesting a crime of so atrocious a nature, although committed upon the person of their greatest and most formidable enemy, refused to protect the murderers. De Es­chenbach concealed himself in the disguise of a com­mon labourer, for 30 years, nor was his rank dis­covered, till he confessed it upon his death bed; De Palma, destitute of common necessaries, died in extreme poverty; and De Warth, tied to a horse's tail like a common malefactor, and dragged to the place of execution, was broken upon the wheel. John of Hapsburgh, commonly known by the name of the Parricide, from this assassination, did not reap the expected benefits of the crime; for by order of the Emperor Henry VII. he retired into a monastery of Augustine Friars, where he died in 1313. Mean [Page 290] while, the three cantons were for a few years left to the undisturbed enjoyment of their liberties, and to strengthen themselves against any future attack: and thus they innocently reaped the sole advantage which was derived from this assassination.

In 1315 however, Leopold, Duke of Austria, marched against the confederate cantons, at the head of 20,000 troops, and endeavouring to force his way into Schweitz, at the straights of Morgarten, re­ceived a total defeat from 1,300 Swiss, who were posted upon the mountains. In the same year, the three cantons contracted a perpetual alliance, which was ratified at Brunnen, and is the grand founda­tion of the Helvetic confederacy. Such were the feeble beginnings of a league, since become so for­midable by the accession of ten more cantons, and by the additional strength of its numerous allies; and it is remarkable, that Switzerland is the only country which on the one side, has confined the limits of the German empire; and on the other, has set bounds to the French monarchy, which the latter has never transgressed.

The name of Schweitzerland, or Switzerland, which originally comprehended only the above three cantons, was afterwards extended to all Helvetia. It derived that appellation either from the canton [Page 291] of Schweitz, as having particularly distinguished itself in the revolution of 1308, and also at the battle of Morgarten; or because the Austrians called all the inhabitants of these mountainous parts, by the general denomination of Schweit­zers.

The accession of Zuric, Berne, Lucerne, Zug, and Glarus, which happened a few years after, gave strength and solidity to this union; but a century and a half elapsed, before a new member was ad­mitted. At length in 1501, after much difficulty, Friburgh and Soleure were admitted into the league. Basle, Schafhausen, and Appenzel, soon after sub­scribed to the same terms.

These 13 towns and countries which properly constitute the Helvetian republic, are united by a reciprocal convention; which, though not in all places the same; the union of the first eight, and five subsequent cantons, differing in certain respects, yet in the principal points, they nearly agree.

It appears, says Coxe, from the several treaties concluded between the combined republics of Swit­zerland, that the Helvetic union is a perpetual de­fensive alliance between the 13 independent con­tracting powers, to protect each other by their united [Page 292] forces, against all foreign enemies. Accordingly, if any member of the union should be attacked, that particular canton has a right to demand succours from the whole confederate body; and in case of war, the several forces to be supplied by each can­ton, are precisely specified. It appears, however, from the stipulations to which the five cantons agreed, that they do not enjoy equal prerogatives with the eight ancient cantons. For the latter have recovered to themselves a right, if the question for declaring war against any foreign state, should be unanimously carried in their assembly, to require the assistance of the other five cantons, without as­signing the motive. It is further stipulated, that if a rupture should ensue between the eight cantons, the five are to observe a strict neutrality.

The next essential object of the league, is to pre­serve peace and good order. To this is added, a re­ciprocal guarantee of the forms of government, established in the respective commonwealths. Ac­cordingly, the history of Switzerland affords many instances of protection and assistance, reciprocally given between the confederates, in defence and sup­port of the respective governments.

No separate engagement, which any of the cantons may conclude, can be valid, if inconsistent with the [Page 293] fundamental articles of this general union: that is, the reciprocal contract between the members of the league, supersedes every other consideration. With this exception, the several combined states are inde­pendent of each other: they may form alliances with any power, or reject the same, although the others have acceded to it; may grant auxiliary troops to foreign princes, may prohibit the money of the other cantons from being current within their own territories, may impose taxes, in short, may per­form every other act of absolute sovereignty.

The public affairs of the Helvetic body and their allies, are discussed and determined in their several diets assembled at Frauenfield in Thurgau. Each canton sends as many deputies as it thinks proper.

It would be descending into a tedious detail to enter into the particular connections of the several allies, either with the whole Helvetic body, or with some of the cantons; and the different nature of these respective alliances. Suffice it to remark, that the allies may be divided into associate and confederate states; of the former, or associate states, are the ab­bot and town of S. Gallen, Bienne, and Mulhausen; of the latter, or confederate states, are the Grisons, the republic of the Vallais, Geneva, Neuchatel, and the Bishop of Basle.

[Page 294]These states thus comprised under the denomina­tion of associate and confederate, enjoy, by virtue of this union, a total independence of all foreign domi­nion; and partake of all the privileges and immu­nities granted to the Swiss in other countries. And notwithstanding these states are allied only with par­ticular cantons, yet if any of them should be attack­ed, those cantons, with whom they are in treaty, would not only supply them with succours, but would also require the joint assistance of the re­maining canton; if therefore, any part of the whole body should he invaded, all the other members would unite in its defence, either as immediate gua­rantees, or as auxiliaries of the actual guarrantees.

Having now given this summary history of the Helvetic union; we shall proceed to treat of each separate canton, its cities, manners, customs, laws, government, commerce, religion, &c. noticing at the same time, the associate or confederate states with which it may be more immediately connected. We shall begin with that of Bern, as being the most populous and flourishing.

CHAP. III. Town and Canton of Berne.

THIS canton is by much the largest, most popu­lous, and most fertile of any in Switzerland. It is about 120 miles in breadth, and 60 in length, form­ing in the whole, little less than one third of the confederacy. Scheuchzer stiles this canton the most valuable gem of all Switzerland. The levels yield an exuberance of grain and fruit, and the high lands afford rich pastures, covered with cattle of all kinds; consequently the inhabitants are in no want of milk, butter, and cheese. The finest spots here, are the Waat, or pais de Vaud, and the country bor­dering on the lakes of Bienne, and Geneva, which yield not only the choicest fruits, but also excellent wine.

Among the lakes here, the principal is that of Geneva; the greatest part of which is within this canton. At present, either the whole lake is stiled the lake of Geneva, or this appellation is limited to the western part, the eastern being distinguished by the name of the lake of Lausanne. Its extreme length is estimated at 18 hours distance. Its greatest [Page 296] breadth is between three and four hours, but towards both ends, it gradually decreases. Its depth also varies considerably, being towards Savoy from two to 400 hundred fathoms, but in most parts, not ex­ceeding 40. Southward, not far from Bouveret, the river Rhine enters it with great rapidity, but quits it again at Geneva. That it passes however, through the lake without mingling with it, as some ancient and modern writers have inadvertently as­serted, is unnatural; for though at about two or three miles from its entrance, the turbid waters of this river may be easily distinguished from those of the lake; yet beyond that distance, the distinction both in agitation and colour ceases; the lake being every where smooth, and of one uniform appearance. In summer, the waters of the lake are greatly in­creased by the melting of the snow and ice in the mountains. The lake abounds in fish, and is parti­cularly famous for very large trouts, many of which, weigh between 40 and 50 pounds each; and all the several kinds of fish in it, are remarkable for their fine flavour.

The borders of the lake of Bienne are fruitful, and planted with many vineyards; and almost in its centre, stand two small islands, the largest of which, called S. Peters, is a delightful spot, covered with meadows, vineyards, and a most beautiful wood.

[Page 297]This island, says Coxe, is about two miles in cir­cumference, and richly wooded with various shrubs and trees. Its surface is gently undulating; the southern shore covered with herbage, forms a gra­dual slope to the lake, the remaining borders are steep and rocky; in a few places their summits are thinly fringed with shrubs; in others their perpen­dicular sides are clothed to the water's edge with hanging woods. Agreeable walks are carried through the woods and terminate at a circular pavilion placed in the centre of the island. During vintage particu­larly, and on Sunday, which is the usual day of fes­tivity, the island is filled with parties who take re­freshments at the farm-house, stray about the woods, or dance the circular walse, which we shall describe hereafter.

It was in this farm-house, the only dwelling in the island, that Rousseau occupied an apartment, when driven from Mortier in the district of Neu­chatel, by the inhabitants, to whom he had made himself obnoxious from the scepticism and infide­lity of his religious opinions. He lived with the steward and his family, says Coxe, who are the pre­sent inhabitants. The woman informed me that he paid for his board and lodging forty shillings a month, that he usually rose at six, dined with the family at twelve, and after a slight supper retired to rest at nine. She added that he was extremely [Page 298] chearful and agreeable; conversed with the family with the greatest ease and complacency, and con­formed to their hours and manner of living; that he amused himself entirely with wandering about the woods, and searching for plants, which he used to explain to them with singular satisfaction. Rous­seau mentions his residence in this island with the highest terms of rapture, and his usual proness to exaggeration.

"I was permitted, says he, to remain only two months in this delightful island; but I could have passed there two years, two centuries, all eternity, without suffering a moment's ennui, although my whole society consisted of the steward and family, good but plain people. I esteem these two months as the most happy period of my life; and so happy, that I could have passed my whole existence with­out even a momentary wish for another situation."

If we examine in what this extreme happiness consisted, he himself informs us, that his principal occupation was in doing nothing. He did not even unpack his books, and could scarcely prevail on himself to read, much less to answer any letters. He assisted the steward and his servant at work in the vineyards and fields; sauntered about the woods, and gave himself up entirely to botany. He made occasional excursions on the lake, sometimes coast­ing [Page 299] the shady banks of the island; at other times suffering the bark to float without direction into the middle of the lake: then, to use his own expression, "he would lie down in the boat, look up to the heavens, and continue in that posture several hours, enjoying a thousand unconnected and confused, but delicious reveries." He frequently rowed to a small sandy island, which he describes as a most delicious spot. It was one of his great amusements to people this little island with rabbits; and as he was con­veying with great pomp, the steward's family to be present at the foundation of this little colony, he describes himself as equally elated with the pilot of the Argonautic expedition.

From these simple avocations and every day oc­currences, which Rousseau relates with that enthu­siasm and those sentiments peculiar to himself, he draws the following sublime morality:

"I have remarked during the vicissitudes of a long life, that the most delightful enjoyments and most rapturous pleasures, are not, upon recollec­tion, those with which I am most affected. Such fleeting moments of passion and delirium, however rapturous, are from their very nature but thinly scattered in the path of life. They are too rare and rapid to constitute a fixed state; and the happiness [Page 300] which my heart regrets, is not composed of fugi­tive instants, but consists in a simple and permanent state, without rapture, the duration of which in­creases the charm, till it finds supreme felicity."

This state he describes himself as possessing during his short continuation in the island of Bienne; a longer residence would probably have dissolved the charm, which was raised by his own heated imagi­nation. That restlessness of temper which is usu­ally the attendant of great genius, and which was his inseparable companion, would have probably returned, and embittered the delightful calm, which he describes with such rapture and extasy. But he had not time to become disgusted with his situa­tion: for the same intolerant spirit which had hi­therto pursued him, followed him even to this se­questered island; and he had scarcely passed two months, before he received an order from the go­vernment of Berne to depart from their territories. Rousseau was so shocked at this unexpected com­mand, that he petitioned to be imprisoned for life, only requesting the use of a few books, and that he might be occasionally permitted to walk in the open air. Soon after this extraordinary request which shews the extreme agitation of his mind, and which cannot but interest every feeling mind, he reluct­antly quitted the island. It does not fall within the [Page 301] compass of this work to dwell upon this singular man through the subsequent events of his life, or even accompany him to England, where, notwith­standing the most distinguished reception, the same perverseness of disposition, and the same excessive delicacy, rendered him no less unhappy, than when he was under the pressure of real calamities, and exposed to reiterated persecutions.

The canton of Berne is well cultivated and very populous, containing 39 large and small towns, and above 1300 villages. Its subjects are com­puted at no less than 400,000, which is supposed to be nearly one fourth part of the population of all Switzerland. Its territories are said to comprize nearly one third part.

The principal towns in this canton are Berne and Lausanne. Berne is a regular well-built town with some air of magnificence. It is situated on the river Aar, by which three sides of it are envi­roned, forming a peninsula. The houses are of a fine white free-stone and pretty uniform, particu­larly in the principal street, where they are all ex­actly of the same height. There are piazzas on each side, with a walk, raised four feet above the level of the street, very commodious in wet wea­ther.

[Page 302]A small branch of the river Aar has been turned into this street, and being confined to a narrow channel in the middle, which has a considerable slope, it runs with great rapidity; and without be­ing a disagreeable object in itself, is of great ser­vice in keeping the streets clean.

Another circumstance contributes to render this one of the most cleanly towns in Europe:—Crimi­nals are employed in removing rubbish from the streets and public walks. The more atrocious de­linquents are chained to waggons, while those who are condemned for smaller crimes, are employed in sweeping the light rubbish into the rivulet, and throwing the heavier into the carts or waggons, which their more criminal companions are obliged to push or draw along.

These wretches have collars of iron fixed round their necks, with a projecting handle in the form of a hook to each, by which on the slightest of­fence or mutiny, they may be seized, and are en­tirely at the command of the guard, whose duty it is to see that they perform their work. People of both sexes are condemned to this labour, for months, years, or for less, according to the nature of their crimes.

[Page 303]It is alledged, that besides deterring from crimes which is effected by this means, in common with the other methods of punishment, there is the addi­tional advantage of obliging the criminal to repair by his labour, the injury which he has done to the community.

The public buildings at Berne, as the hospital, the granary, the guard-house, the arsenal, and the churches, are magnificent. There has also lately a very elegant building been erected, with accommo­dations for many public amusements, such as balls, concerts, and theatrical entertainments. There are likewise apartments for private societies and assem­blies. It was built by a voluntary subscription among the nobility; and no societies, but of the patrician order, are allowed there.

Theatrical entertainments are seldom permitted at Berne; none had been performed at the new the­atre, when Moore passed through this city, though the building had been some time erected..

The walk by the great church, was formerly the only public walk, and universally admired on ac­count of the view from it, and the peculiarity of its situation, being on a level with the streets on one side, and some hundred feet of perpendicular height [Page 304] above them on the other. But there is now ano­ther public walk, at some distance without the town, which has been lately made upon a high bank, by the side of the Aar, and is the most magnificent one belonging to this or any other town. From it there is a commanding view of the river, the town of Berne, the country about it, and the glaciers of Switzerland.

The public library is a small, but well chosen collection, and contains 20,000 volumes, a cabinet of Swiss coins and medals, and many curious ma­nuscripts. An addition was lately made to this li­brary, by a collection of English books, magnifi­cently bound, which were sent as a present by an English gentleman; who, though he has thought proper to conceal his name, has sufficiently discovered his political principles, by the nature of the collec­tion; amongst which are, Milton's works, particu­larly his prose writings; Algernon Sidney on Govern­ment, Lock, Ludlow's Memoirs, Gordon's Transla­tion of Tacitus, Addison's works, particularly the Freeholder; Marvel's works, Steel's, &c. They were the largest and finest editions, and might be about the value of 200 pounds. This gentleman made a present of the same nature to the public li­brary at Geneva.

[Page 305]The arsenal contains arms for 60,000 men, and a considerable quantity of cannon, which are cast in the town. The Bernois value themselves much on the trophies contained in this building, and upon the quantity, good condition, and arrangement of the arms.

Nothing interested me so much, says Moore, as the figures of the brave Switzers, who first took arms against tyranny, and that of William Tell, who is represented aiming the apple at his son's head. I contemplated this with an emotion cre­ated by the circumstances of the story, not by the workmanship; for at that moment I should have beheld with neglect the most exquisite statue ever formed of Augustus Caesar.

Surely no characters have so just a claim to the ad­miration and gratitude of posterity, as those who have freed their countrymen from the capricious insolence of tyrants; and whether all the incidents of Tell's story be true or fabulous, the men, who­ever they were, who roused and incited their fellow-citizens to throw off the Austrian yoke, deserve to be regarded as patriots, having undoubtedly been actuated by that principle, so dear to every generous heart, the spirit of independence.

[Page 306] Addison justly observes, that there is no great plea­sure in visiting arsenals, merely to see a repetition of these magazines of war; yet it is worth while, as it gives an idea of the force of a state, and serves to fix in the mind the most important parts of its his­tory.

The arms taken from the Burgundians, in the va­rious battles which established the liberties of Swit­zerland, are displayed here; also the figure of the General of Berne, who, in the year 1536, con­quered the Pays de Vaud from Charles III. Duke of Savoy: and if they have no trophies to shew of a later date, it is because they are too poor and too wise to aim at any extension of dominion.

The charitable institutions of Berne, are numerous, liberal, and well directed. The hospitals are in ge­neral large, clean, and airy; and in the alms-house for the reception of 50 poor citizens, is a curious establishment, similar to one at Basle. Distressed travellers are treated with a meal and a lodging, if at night, and receive six-pence on their departure. If sick or wounded, they are maintained till their recovery is established.

The external appearance of the hospital of Berne, says De l'Angle, seems to announce the palace of a [Page 307] sovereign. This magnificence is perhaps reprehen­sible more especially in a republic. What is want­ing for the sick? Convenience, cleanliness, salubrity —nothing more. The hospital of Berne re-unites all these advantages. The most generous huma­nity, and the strictest regularity preside over the administration of this charity. The greatest care and attention is paid to the patient; every one has a bed to himself; every bed has proper curtains, and a couple of mattrasses; and no smell, either good or bad, is perceptible in the apartments.

The house of correction, which when the bene­volent Howard visited Berne, was in so deplorable a state, is now extremely well regulated. Formerly, all delinquents, without distinction of crime, were confined in the same place; but they are now sepa­rated; and two houses are established, one called the house of correction for greater crimes, and the other the house of labour for smaller misdemeanors. The prisoners are also discriminated by the appella­tions of brown and blue, from the colour of their clothes, with which they are supplied gratis, during the term of their confinement. The brown co­lour is appropriate to the house of correction, the blue to the house of labour. The men and women are lodged in separate apartments. Both are con­stantly employed, sometimes in cleaning the streets [Page 308] and other servile occupations; at other times they are taught to read and write, and are instructed in various trades, which may assist them in gaining a maintenance at the expiration of the term for which they are sentenced to hard labour. By these means, the expence of the establishment is nearly sup­ported; and an honest livelihood assured to those, who would otherwise prove useless or pernicious members of society.

There are four tables at which the respective seats are a mark of distinction, appropriated to good be­haviour; and a larger or lesser share of provision is distributed to each, in proportion to their indus­try. After having earned their food, the prisoners in the house of labour, receive 10 per cent; those in the house of correction, eight per cent. for their extra work.

Public justice is wisely and impartially admi­nistered; and the torture which had for some time fallen into disuse, is now formally abolished by a public act of government. This humane act, forms a distinguished aera in the history of Swiss jurispru­dence; as the example of so powerful and wise a government, cannot fail producing a general influ­ence; and it is to be hoped, will be the prelude to its abolition throughout Switzerland.

[Page 309]The solemnity used in passing capital sentence on a criminal, deserves to be mentioned and imitated. The trial being finished, the prisoner is informed of his condemnation by the Lieutenant or principal officer of the police, and attended by two clergy­men, who prepare him for death. On the day ap­pointed for execution, a large scaffolding, covered with a black canopy, is constructed in the middle of the principal street. The Advoyer, or chief of the republic, with a sceptre in his hand, is seated on an elevated kind of throne, between two senators, and attended by the Chancellor and the Lieutenant of the police, holding an iron stick, called the rod of blood, all habited in their official robes. The cri­minal being brought to the foot of the scaffolding without chains, the Chancellor reads aloud the sen­tence of condemnation, at the conclusion of which, the Advoyer bids the executioner approach. The latter instantly binds the arms of the culprit, and leads him to the place of execution.

The supreme power is lodged in the great coun­cil, which, including the lesser council, is stiled the Council and Burghery of the city of Berne. By an old act, it is not to consist of less than 200 members, and when complete, their number amounts to 299, but never to 300; though it is but seldom also that it is so full, 80 or more generally dying before their [Page 310] places are filled up. This council makes war, peace, and alliances, manages the upper and lower regalia, and all matters relating to the finances; it choses the lesser council, and its members also preside in all capital causes, for crimes committed within the dis­trict of the city, and likewise in civil causes, when the sum in debate exceeds 500 pounds.

The great council is generally filled up every ten years; as within that period, there is usually a defi­ciency of 80 members to complete the whole num­ber of 299; a new election can only be proposed on a vacancy of 80; and cannot be deferred, when there is a deficiency of 100. The vacancies are sup­plied by the suffrages of the senate.

The several bailiffs are representatives of the so­vereign power in their respective districts. They enforce the edicts of government; collect the pub­lic revenues; act as justices of the peace; and are judges in civil and criminal causes, except where there is any local jurisdiction. In civil causes, be­yond a certain value, an appeal lies to the courts of Berne: in criminal affairs, the process is made out in the bailiffs court, undergoes a re-vision in the se­nate, and is referred to the criminal chamber, which inflicts punishment for small misdemeanors. In capital cases, the sentence must be confirmed by the [Page 311] senate, and by the sovereign council, if the delin­quent is a citizen of Bern.

Although there are no standing armies in Swit­zerland, yet in many of the cantons, and particu­larly in Berne, the militia is so well regulated, that government could assemble a very considerable body of men, at a moment's warning. To this end, every male at the age of 16, is enrolled in the militia; and about a third of the whole number are formed into particular regiments, composed of fusileers and electionaries; the former consisting of bachelors, and the latter of married men. Every person thus enrolled, is obliged to provide himself, at his own expence, with a uniform, a musket, and a certain quantity of powder and ball: and no peasant is al­lowed to marry, unless he produces his uniform and arms. Every year, a certain number of officers are deputed by the council of war, to inspect the arms of the soldiers; to complete the regiments; to exercise the militia; and, upon their return, they make their report to the council. Beside this an­nual review, the regiments are occasionally ex­ercised by veteran soldiers, appointed for that pur­pose.

Besides the arms in the arsenal of Berne, a cer­tain quantity is also provided, in the arsenal of each [Page 312] bailliage, sufficient for the militia of that district; and likewise a sum of money, amounting to three months pay, which is appropriated to the electiona­ries in case of actual service. The dragoons are chosen from the substantial farmers; as each person is obliged to provide his horse and accoutrements. In time of peace, the Advoyer out of office, is pre­sident of the council of war, and a member of that council, is commander of the militia in the Pays de Vaud; but during a war, a general in chief is nominated, who commands the forces of the re­public.

A certain number of regiments, being thus al­ways in readiness, signals are fixed on the highest part of each bailliage, for assembling the militia at a particular place in each district; where they re­ceive orders for marching.

The whole power of the government, and all the honourable offices of state, are in the hands of the nobility. As they are not permitted to trade, they would naturally fall into poverty, did not the num­ber of places, which the nobles enjoy, and to which very considerable pensions are annexed, enable the poorest of them to support their families with dig­nity.

[Page 313]The bailliages into which the whole canton and the conquered territories are divided, form lucra­tive and honourable establishments for the princi­pal families of Berne. The bailiff is governor and judge in his own district, and there is a magnificent chateau in each for his accommodation. An ap­peal may be made from all subordinate courts to him, as also from his dominion, to the council at Berne.

The nobility of Berne, though born to be judges, are not always instructed in law. It has, therefore, been thought requisite, to appoint a certain number of persons, as their assessors, who have been bred to the profession. But in case the judges should differ from the assessors, as the nobles have the precedence of the lawyers, the decision must be given accord­ing to their directions.

This office remains in the hands of the same per­son for the term of six years only. In some of these bailliages, it is said, the governor may live with proper magnificence, and lay up, during the period of his continuing in office, two or 3000 pounds, without extortion. There is no law against his being afterwards named to another bailliage.

[Page 314]The executive power of the government being thus in the hands of the nobility, together with all the lucrative and honourable offices, it may be ima­gined, that the middle and lower ranks of people are oppressed. But this is by no means the case; for the citizens, that is, the merchants and trades-people seem in general to enjoy all the comforts and conveniences of life. And the peasantry is un­commonly wealthy through the whole canton of Berne.

The Swiss have no objection to their nobles be­ing their judges, and to the principal offices of go­vernment remaining in their hands. They look upon the nobility as their natural superiors, and think, that they and their families ought to be sup­ported with a certain degree of splendor. But the power of direct taxation, is a different question, and must be managed with all possible caution and de­licacy. It is a common cause, and the conduct of the nobles, in this particular, is watched with very jealous eyes. They are sufficiently aware of this, and use their power with moderation. But lest the nobles should at any time forget, a very good hint is given in a German inscription of the arsenal, im­plying, that the insolence and rapacity of high rank, had brought about the liberty of Switzerland.

[Page 315]A people who have always arms in their hands, and form the only military force of the country, are in no danger of being oppressed and irritated with taxes.

It has been considered by many, as a pernicious policy in the Swiss, to allow such a considerable number of the natives to serve as mercenaries in the different armies of Europe. There are others who consider this measure as expedient or less pernicious in the Swiss cantons, than it would be in any other country.

They who support this opinion, assert, that every part of Switzerland, which is capable of cultivation, is already improved to the highest degree; and that after retaining a sufficient number of hands, to keep it always in this condition, and the support of every manufactory, still there remains a surplus of inhabi­tants, which form the troops that are allowed to go into foreign service. They add, that these troops engage for a limited number of years; at the expi­ration of which, many of them return, with money, to their native country; and all, by stipulation, may be re-called on any emergency. By this means, they retain a numerous and well disciplined army, which so far from being a burden, in reality, enriches the [Page 316] state; an advantage, which no other people ever possessed.

There is still another motive for this measure, which, though it be not openly avowed, yet perhaps has considerable weight: the council may be afraid, that if the young nobility were kept at home, where they could have but few objects to occupy them, they might cabal and spread dissentions in the state; or perhaps through idleness and ambition, excite dangerous insurrections among the peasants. For although the laws are severe against state crimes, and easily put in execution against ordinary offenders; it might be difficult and dangerous to punish a popu­lar young nobleman.

It may on these accounts be highly prudent to allow a large proportion of them to exhaust, in some foreign service, the fiery and restless years of youth, which at home might have been spent in faction and dangerous intrigue. Very probably the state would incline to permit the officers to go, while they retained the private men at home; but they are under the necessity of allowing the latter likewise to go, as without them, the officers could not be raised to those distinguished situations in foreign services, which are their greatest inducements to leave their own country.

[Page 317]After having served a certain term of years, they almost all return to Switzerland. Some, because they are tired of dissipation; others, to inherit a pa­ternal estate; and many with pensions from the princes they have served. The heat of youth is then most probably passed, and they begin to aspire to those offices in their own country, to which their birth gives them a claim, and which they now pre­fer to the lustre of military rank. They either wish to support those laws and that government, which they find so partial to their families; or they desire to pass the remainder of their days in ease and re­tirement on their paternal estates.

It is remarkable, that the Swiss officers who re­turn from foreign services, particularly that of France, instead of importing French manners to their native mountains, and infecting their country­men with the luxuries and fopperies of that nation; throw off all foreign airs with their uniforms, and immediately resume the plain and frugal style of life, which prevails in their own country.

CHAP. IV. Customs, Manners, and Environs of Berne.

AT Berne, the society is extremely agreeable, and foreigners are received with great ease and po­liteness. The men do not meet in separate societies; and the women are the life and ornament of their daily assemblies. These assemblies begin about four or five in the afternoon, and continue till about eight, when the parties retire to their respective houses.

Dancing is a very frequent amusement at Berne. There is a public ball every fortnight; and in win­ter, scarcely an evening passes without one. These diversions commence at so early an hour as five in the afternoon, on account of a standing order from government, which prohibits their continuance after eleven. English country dances are commonly introduced, but the Walse, which is a species of allemande, is the favourite dance of the natives. The parties arrange themselves in distinct couples, and follow each other in a circular direction; the gentleman turning his partner with great velocity. [Page 319] The life and spirit of their dances, strike a foreigner with astonishment, and can scarcely be conceived by those who have never seen them. The gaiety of these parties is still more enlivened during the sum­mer months, when the natives resort to a garden near the town, and dance under an open pavilion, amid scenes of rural festivity. The foreigner who prefers the constant intercourse of company to a more tranquil society, will chuse the residence of Berne, rather than that of any other town in Swit­zerland.

There is but little trade in the capital; some few manufactures, indeed, chiefly of linen and silk, have been established; but are carried on by those only, who have no prospect of being admitted into the sovereign council. For those families who enjoy any influence in public affairs, would hold them­selves degraded, by engaging in any branch of com­merce; one general advantage, however, is derived from this anti-commercial spirit: the members of government, not being interested in laying restric­tions on trade, do not, as at Zuric and Basle, confine the exclusive right of establishing manufactures to the burghers of the capital; but wisely extend that permission to all their subjects, without distinction of rank or place. From this circumstance, in con­junction with the mildness and wisdom of govern­ment, [Page 320] arise that comfortable state, and even wealth, which so peculiarly distinguishes the peasantry in the whole canton of Berne; and to the natural re­sult of these wise regulations, may be naturally im­puted the attachment of government, particularly observable in the German district.

Sumptuary laws are in force throughout this can­ton; and the wearing of gold, silver, lace, &c. even of silk, is expressly prohibited. The chamber of reform has found it necessary, however, upon some occasions, to relax the vigour of these laws. Indeed, the vast strides which luxury has made within this century, is very perceivable throughout Switzerland: and there is no place where its progress has been more rapid than at Berne. The attention of go­vernment has not been wanting to restrain it; as ap­pears by the laws that have been repeatedly enacted for that purpose: an attention, however, which in many instances, has not proved altogether successful; notwithstanding the sovereign council has given the several fines to the members of the chamber of re­form. In one respect, however, their laudable en­deavours have been more effectual. Not long ago, the spirit of gaming had arisen in Berne to such an extravagant height, as to have overwhelmed several families in total ruin. Upon this occasion, the so­vereign council interposed its authority by very


[Page 321] salutary regulations; and, in order to enforce the observance of them more strictly, every member of that council is bound by an oath, to inform against any transgressor that comes within his observation. By this law, all games of chance are expressly pro­hibited; and in other kind of games, the parties are restrained from playing for more than a certain sum, particularly specified.

The dress of the peasants in this canton, as seen at a fair near Berne, is thus described by Coxe. Great numbers of the men have long beards; and many of them cover their heads with a woman's straw hat, extremely broad, which gives them a very gro­tesque appearance: their dress is chiefly a coarse brown cloth jacket, without sleeves; with large puffed breeches of ticking. The women wear their hair plaited behind, in tresses, with the rib­band hanging down below the waist: a flat plain straw hat, which is very becoming; a red or brown cloth jacket without sleeves; a black or blue pet­ticoat bordered with red, and scarcely reaching be­low their knees; red stockings with black clocks, and no heels to their shoes; their shifts, fastened close round the throat by a black collar, with red ornaments; the better sort have chains of silver between the shoulders, brought round under each [Page 322] arm, and fastened beneath the bosom, the ends hanging down with some silver ornaments.

It is worthy of remark, that the peasants who have acquired opulence, either by manufactures or agriculture, seldom quit their situation; they con­tinue in the same habits which they contracted in the earlier period of life, and however wealthy, never give their daughters in marriage, but to persons of their own description.

Learning is neither so universally encouraged, nor so successfully cultivated here, as at Zurie; the academical studies are almost solely directed to those branches of knowledge, more essentially ne­cessary for entering into the church. The society for the promotion of agriculture, was, till within these few years, almost the only establishment that di­rectly tends to the progress of the arts and sciences. A literary society, has, however, since been insti­tuted for the promotion of physic and natural his­tory in general, and that of Switzerland in particu­lar. In January, 1788, this society consisted of ten members, resident at Berne, of whom several pos­sess, and others are forming collections, agreeable to the plan of the institution. The members have established regular correspondence in various parts of Europe, and are ready to answer the enquiries [Page 323] of foreign naturalists, who wish to be informed con­cerning any points, which relate to the natural history of this country. An institution founded on such liberal and extensive principles, and having one object principally in view, cannot fail to render the most essential service to science.

The environs of Berne, are in general extremely delightful, and there is no road which exhibits a more pleasing variety of hill and dale, than that which leads to Thun. It runs through an agree­able country; winds through fertile meadows, en­riched with dark forests of pine and fir, and occa­sional groves of beech and oak. The well being of the inhabitants is visible from the cultivation of the grounds, and the number and neatness of the cot­tages and farm-houses, which are scattered about the fields, skirted by trees, or half concealed amid tufts of wood.

About four miles from Berne, is the village of Hindelbank, which is generally visited by travellers, to view the tomb of Madame Langhan's, a most celebrated work of Nahl, a Swedish sculptor. Be­ing employed in constructing a sepulchre for Count de Erlach, he was lodged in the house of the cler­gyman, his particular friend, whose wife, a woman of uncommon beauty, expired in child-bed on [Page 324] Easter-eve. Struck with the time of her death, ani­mated by the recollection of her beauty, and sym­pathising with the affliction of her husband, he con­ceived and finished this affecting monument. It is placed in the body of the church, sunk into the pavement like a grave, and covered with two folding doors. When these are opened, a grave-stone ap­pears, as if just rent into three fractures, through which is half discovered the figure of a woman, slightly veiled with a shroud. She is represented at the moment of the resurrection, when, "The graves are commanded to yield up their dead." With her right hand, she is gently raising that portion of the broken grave stone which lies over her head; and in the other, holds a naked infant, struggling with its little hands to relieve itself from the tomb. "Here am I, Lord, and the child whom thou gavest me," are the sublime words which form the inscription. Below is the name of the deceased; Anna Magdalena Langhans, wife of the clergyman: born 1723; died 1751. The workmanship is by no means inferior to the original design. The artist has formed the whole sepulchre out of one block, and so naturally expressed the swelling of the stone, that the fragments seem as if they had just burst, and were in the act of opening.

[Page 325]Nothing, perhaps, can more strongly display the superior effect of simplicity over magnificence, than the companion of this tomb, with the mausoleum of Count de Erlach, in the same church. The latter consisting of several marble figures, executed in a masterly stile, and loaded with all the emblems of rank and opulence, scarcely attracts a momentary attention; while this simple grave-stone "speaks home" to the heart of every person of taste and feeling.

Morat, another town in the environs of this capi­tal, is celebrated for the obstinate siege it sustained against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, which was followed by the battle of Morat, fought on the 22d of June, 1476. In this famous engagement, the Duke was routed, and his whole army almost en­tirely destroyed by the confederatet roops of Swit­zerland. Not far from the town, and adjoining to the high road, a monument of this victory still re­mains: it is a square building, filled with the bones of the Burgundian soldiers, who were slain at the siege, and in the battle. To judge from the quan­tity of these bones, the number of the slaughtered must have been considerable.

"And what," says Philip de Comines, "was the occasion of this war? It was begun on an account [Page 326] of a waggon of sheep-skins, which the Lord of Ro­mont took from a Swiss, who was passing through his territories. If God had not abandoned the Duke, it is not probable, that he would have put himself into so much danger, for so trifling a cir­cumstance; considering the offers that were made to him; against what sort of people he was engaged; and from whence neither profit nor glory could accrue to him. For the Swiss were not in such re­pute, as they are at present, and nothing could be poorer: insomuch, that one of their ambassadors, as he was endeavouring to prevent the Duke from engaging in that war, remonstrated, that he could get nothing by attacking them: for, their country was so barren, that the spurs of his troops, and the bits of their horses, were worth more than could be furnished by all the Swiss territories, in case they were conquered."

The borders of the lake of Morat, are enriched with gentlemen's houses, and villages in great abundance. Pennant observes, that the vast fish, called the silurus glanis, or the saluth, which fre­quents the lakes of Morat and Neuchatel, has not been caught here in the memory of man. It is well described, and finely engraven in Block's History of Fishes. In the time of Gesner, two were taken, one of which was eight feet long, but they are some­times [Page 327] so large, as to weigh six hundred pounds. It is an eel-shaped fish, very smooth, round and thick, and has a great head. The mouth is furnished with four short, and two very long whiskers. It is very inactive and slow in its motions, and loves the deep and muddy parts of the lakes. They are found in many of the great fresh waters of Europe, and abun­dantly in the Volga.

The dress, manners, and persons of the inhabi­tants of this part of the canton, differ from those on the opposite side. They are very tall and robust. Their dresses very particular. They wear little round hats, like those of the Dutch skippers. Their coats and waistcoats are all of a kind of coarse black cloth. Their breeches made of coarse linen, are something like sailors trowsers; but drawn together in plaits below the knees, and the stockings are of the same stuff with the breeches.

The women wear short jackets, with a great su­perfluity of bottons. The unmarried women value themselves on the length of their hair, which they separate into two divisions, and allow to hang at its full length, braided with ribbands in the Ramillie fashion. After marriage, these tresses are no longer permitted to hang down; but being twisted round the head in spiral lines, are fixed at the crown with [Page 328] large silver pins. This is the only difference in point of dress, which matrimony makes.

Married and unmarried wear straw hats, orna­mented with black ribbands. So far their dress is becoming enough; but they have an aukward man­ner of fixing their petticoats so high, as to leave hardly any waist. This encroachment of the petti­coats upon the waist, with the amazing number they wear, gives a size and importance to the lower and hind part of the body, to which it is by no means entitled; and very much deforms the appear­ance of the whole power. The elegant figure of the Venus de Medicis, or of the D—s of D—re, would he impaired or annihilated under such a pre­posterous load of dress.

Upon an insulated ride, between the lakes of Neu­chatel and Morat, are many delightful points of view. Of these various prospects, the most remark­able is from the summit of Mount Vicilly. What renders this charming spot more particularly strik­ing is, that it is perhaps the only central point, from which the eye can at once comprehend the vast am­phitheatre, formed on one side by the Jura, stretch­ing from the environs of Geneva as far as Basle, and on the other, by that stupendous chain of snowy Alps, which extends from the frontiers of Italy, to the con­sines of Germany, and is lost at each extremity on the boundless horizon.



CHAP. V. Of Lausanne, and its Vicinage.

LAUSANNE is built upon an ascent so steep, that in some places it is with great difficulty the horses can draw up a carriage; and foot passengers mount towards the upper part of the town by flights of steps which lean against the rocks. But these inconveniences are amply compensated by the sub­limest views in nature; the principal object is the lake of Geneva, shaped like a bow; the arc of which is formed by the Pays de Vaud, and the cord by the coast of Chablais. From Geneva to Villeneuve, says Coxe, the two extremities of this lake, may be about 40 miles distant; it varies in its breadth, the narrowest part is scarce three miles across, and from Rolles to Thonon, is 15. The town contains about 7000 inhabitants. It formerly belonged to the Duke of Savoy, and was the capital of the Pays de Vaud. However mortifying this may be to the for­mer possessor, it has certainly, says Moore, been a happy dispensation to the inhabitants, who are in every respect more at their ease, and in a better situ­ation, than any of the subjects of his Sardinian Ma­jesty.

[Page 330]This city is situated within half a mile of the lake, and at the distance of about 30 miles from Geneva. As the nobility from the country, and from some parts of Switzerland, and the families of several officers who have retired from service, reside here; there is an air of more ease and gaiety, and perhaps also so much more real politeness in the societies of Lausanne, than in those of Geneva; at least, this is firmly believed and asserted by all the nobles of this place, who consider themselves as greatly superior to the citizens of Geneva. These, on the other hand, talk a good deal of the poverty, frivolousness, and ignorance of these same nobility, and make no scruple of ranking their own enligh­tened mechanics above them in every essential qua­lity.

Lausanne possesses an academy for the students of this country; professors in every science are ap­pointed by government; and there is a tolerable li­brary for the use of the public.

The church of Lausanne, formerly the cathedral, is a magnificent gothic building, standing on the most elevated part of the town. It contains, among many other sepulchres, the tomb of Amadeus, the eighth Duke of Savoy, styled the Solomon of his age; but more known by the name of the Anti-pope, Felix [Page 331] the Fifth, who exhibited a singular instance in the annals of Europe, of a personage twice abdicating the pomp of sovereignty, and twice retiring to a pri­vate station.

Having passed his early youth and ripening man­hood, in the pursuit of ambition, he enlarged his dominions by the acquisition of the Genevois and Piedmont, and obtained an increase of rank by the erection of Savoy into a duchy. Yet in the midst of his greatest success, and when fortune seemed most propitious to him, the sudden death of a be­loved wife, and a narrow escape from assassination, inspired him with such a disgust of the world, that he resigned in 1434, the administration of his estates to his eldest son, and accompanied with a few lords of his court, retired to a palace at La Ripaille, on the borders of the lake of Geneva. In this palace, which he called a hermitage, he enjoyed, with an ap­parent indifference to the affairs of the world, a calm and tranquillity that seemed incompatible with his former aspiring ambition; until he was suddenly cal­led forth to public notice, in a more exalted sta­tion.

The council of Basle, having deposed Eugenius the Fourth, induced, according to some authors, by [Page 332] the reputation which Amadeus had acquired of sanc­tity, influenced according to others by his presents and intrigues, raised the hermit of La Ripaille to the papal throne. This event took place in 1439, the new pontiff quitting his favourite retreat, ac­cepted the proffered dignity, either with a real or af­fected reluctance, and assumed the name of Felix the Fifth.

The aera of his disputed pontificate, was marked with turbulence and anarchy. In order to avoid the storm which agitated Europe, and to favour the na­tural indolence of his temper, he frequently re­treated to his beloved hermitage, and directed the affairs of the church from that sequestered corner. Conscious, at length, that his acceptance of the pa­pacy, served to widen, instead of healing the schism of the church; finding that he was opposed by the most powerful princes of Europe; that, on the death of his rival Eugenius, the cardinals of Rome had chosen another Pope; and being ill supported by the remains of the council of Basle, he termi­nated the schism, by resigning the papal tiara in fa­vour of Nicholas the Fifth. In this transaction, he proved his talents for negociation, by obtaining the following conditions: that he should enjoy the next rank to the pope; that he should be appointed vicar of the Roman see, and that all the acts passed [Page 333] in his pontificate, should be valid. On his resig­nation, he fixed his residence at La Ripaille, and died in 1451.

Lausanne, says Keysler, lies in a valley, but so uneven, that the carriage wheels must be continu­ally shod. On the east side of the town, is a very spacious walk, with a wall, and a prospect towards the city and lake of Geneva, which seems very near, but is a good half league distant.

In the wall of the great church, was a crack, wide enough for a man to creep through, occasioned by an earthquake in the year 1634. The celebrated old professor Pictat, used to say, that when he was a boy, and at play in the church-yard, he has sometimes laid his cloak in it; about 60 years ago, it was closed again by another earthquake, and the crevice which remained, was filled up with mortar, being not above an inch in breadth. The tower does not want beauty, but having been twice burned, only half of it is now standing. A smaller tower be­longing to this church, was also set on fire by light­ning, when they prudently beat it down with a chain ball, by which the body of the church was saved, and since a spire has been raised on it. On one side of this cathedral, is a walled terrace, like that at Berne, with this difference; that the terrace of Berne [Page 334] is much higher walled, and that of Lausanne, has the advantage in prospect, commanding the lake and all the country below towards Geneva. This country, indeed, from its nature and the im­provements of it, affords a delicious view, in the variety of little hills and dales, fields, meadows, vine­yards, and woods, together with the vicinity of the lake. All these allurements, and the regularity and mildness of the government, draw people of all countries into the Pays de Vaud, and especially to pass the summers and autumns there. Some also purchase lands.

The resort of persons of rank from Geneva, and the canton of Berne, of men of letters, of gentle­men who have travelled, of experienced merchants, and other persons of amiable qualities, who came hither as a refuge from civil and ecclesiastical tyran­ny, affords the most desirable opportunities of spend­ing the time agreeably in improving conversation. Even ministers of state, whose talents have shone in the greatest courts of Europe, have chosen this spot for the seat of their repose: and their conversation, to a mind formed for instruction whom they are pleased to honour with their confidence, cannot but be an exquisite entertainment; as they themselves may feel transports of rational pleasures which they were [Page 335] strangers to, amidst the tumult of a court, and the em­barrassments of their station.

The country from Lausanne to Geneva abounds in vineyards; but the wine of a strip of land, half a league on this side Nyon, is esteemed the choicest. This territory is three small leagues in length, and is distinguished by the name of La Côte. The wine of the growth of Rolle and Bursin, two particular spots here, is reckoned to surpass the rest, and especially the white wine; as the baronry of Capet, which lies nearer towards Geneva, is celebrated for red wine.

The wine growing on the Savoy side of the lake of Geneva, had formerly a very considerable vent, the people of Geneva, and the adjoining Swiss, buy­ing their wine from Savoy; but a certain rapacious minister put the Duke on laying a duty upon this wine, which as the Swiss could not do without, he said would be a very great increase to the revenue. Such counsellors are but too readily listened to, and the imposition accordingly took place. This, of course, occasioned the wine to rise, and the Swiss were not wanting to make remonstrances, but all to no purpose; at last, seeing no remedy, it occurred to some of the leading men, that though their an­cestors had never turned their thoughts to the plant­ing [Page 336] of vines, yet it was not impossible, but their country, especially that part of it between Geneva and Lausanne, might yield as good wine as Savoy; the position of their mountains, and of the land in general, affording a better exposure to the sun, than the Savoy territory. This business was immediately set on foot, and the consequence far exceeded all ex­pectation: by this means, the Savoy wines remained upon their hands, and instead of the uncertain ad­vantages the Duke's finances were gaping for, they lost, besides the detriment occasioned to his indus­trious subjects, a certain income, which they have never since been able to retrieve.

At present, Lausanne is governed by its own ma­gistrates; has its own courts of justice; and what is very singular, the citizens who possess houses in the principal streets, enjoy the privilege of pronounc­ing sentence in criminal causes. The criminal is tried by the civil power: if he is found, or ac­knowledges himself guilty, the burghers of this street assemble; one of the magistrates pleads in de­fence of the prisoner, and another against him; the court of justice give their opinion upon the point of law; and the majority of the citizens possessing houses in the principal street, determine the penalty. If the punishment is capital, there is, according to the letter of the law, no pardon, except it be ob­tained [Page 337] within 24 hours from the sovereign council of Berne; although it generally happens, that eight days are granted for that purpose. When the cri­minal is seized within the jurisdiction of the town, the fact is tried, and the burghers pronounce sen­tence in the town-hall; from this sentence there is no appeal. But if taken within the district of the bailiff, he is tried in his house, and an appeal lies to the council of Berne.

Vevay is another pretty little town in this district, visited by most travellers. It is sweetly situated on a plain, near the head of the lake of Geneva, where the Rhine enters. The road from Lausanne to this place, runs along the sides of the mountains, between continued ranges of vineyards. The industry of the Swiss is no where more observable, than in these parts; the mountains in many places, though natu­rally consisting of a bare steep rock, being thickly co­vered with vines. The mould has been brought from other grounds, in order to create a soil, and is supported by rows of stones, ranged in strait lines like walls.

This town is distinguished as being the residence of Edmund Ludlow, the famous parliamentary gene­ral, whose name stands foremost among the few per­sons, who in those times of misrule and confusion, [Page 338] uniformly acted with consistency and dignity. True to his republican principles, he no less vio­lently opposed the daring usurpation of Cromwell, than the arbitrary measures of Charles the First; and could never be prevailed upon, either by threats or promises, to desert the cause, which he considered as the cause of justice and liberty.

Being excepted as one of the king's judges, from the act of indemnity, passed at the restoration of Charles the Second, he wandered, without any fixed place of residence; until he found an asylum from the bare attempts of his enemies at Vevay, under the protection of Berne.

At the important period of the revolution, he re­turned to England, anxious to serve his country under our great deliverer; and William the Third, whose mind rose superior to the narrow prejudices of party, was no less desirous to employ a general of such approved experience and fidelity. But the king being addressed by the House of Commons, to issue a proclamation for apprehending Ludlow, at the moment his Majesty was going to employ him; he was accordingly compelled to quit England at this critical period, and again settled at Vevay. We may collect from his general character and conduct, that if he had been permitted to serve his country, [Page 339] he would have successfully employed his great mili­tary talents, against the assertors of bigotry and des­potism; and with the same zeal which he had dis­played in opposing an arbitrary government, would have supported the new administration; when the enormous prerogatives of the crown, against which he had unsheathed his sword, were abolished by law, and the freedom of the subject was established on the basis of equal liberty, under the authority of a li­mited monarch.

He died in 1693, in the 64th year of his age; and was interred in the church of Vevay. His monu­ment is a plain grave-stone of black marble, con­taining a Latin inscription, which is printed in Addison's Travels. The house which he formerly inhabited, stands near the gate, leading to the Vallais, and the following motto is inscribed over the door, which is still preserved out of respect to his me­mory; Omne solum forti patria est. i. e. To a brave man, every country is his own?

Not far from Vevay, is the village of Clarens, rendered memorable by Rousseau, from having been chosen by him as the scene of his celebrated novel Eloise. It stands on an eminence, whose gen­tle declivity slopes gradually towards the lake. The adjacent scenery consists of vineyards, fields of corn, [Page 240] pasture, rich groves of oak, ash, and spanish chesnut trees. Although the situation and environs harmo­nize with the animated scenery in this novel, yet the castle by no means accords with the description given of it in this work. The traveller sees an oblong building with ancient towers, and a pent-house roof; in the inside, a large hall that looks like a prison; and the whole bears rather the antiquated appear­ance of a feudal mansion, inhabited by some turbu­lent baron, then the residence of the elegant and im­passioned Julie.

Opposite to Clarens, on the other shore of the lake, are the dark gloomy rocks of Meillerie. Al­though there are no traces of any history like that of Julie in these parts, yet the scenery is strongly marked; and every spot which is mentioned in these letters, actually exists in this romantic country. Rousseau himself, passed some time at different parts on the borders of the lake, and particularly at Meil­lerie, about that period of his life, when he may be supposed to have written his Eloise.


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