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narration of this excursion, our author indulges but little in mere description of objects, scenery, character and life. His is no guidebook, containing a dry minute of routes, places, curiosities, inns, etc. etc. It is a book of impressions and reflections. The impressions are generally such as would naturally be made on a cultivated, liberalized, refined and reflecting mind; and bis reflections are for the most part sound and just. There is little of the strain after effect, at the expense of truth, which mere descriptive writers of travels so often exhibit. Some abatement, however, must now and then be made on the score of excited feeling, personal prejudices, and peculiarities of habit and temperament; and occasionally, though rarely, a regard to expression, and to style, has led the writer beyond the lines of simple truth. But generally the statements are fair and candid, the descriptions accurate, and the observations pbilosopbical and rational.
His remarks on France will be confirmed by most travelers. Of all countries on the face of the earth, he pronounces it to be the most uninteresting. “From the Pyrenees to the Rhine, from the Jura to the Atlantic, from Antibes to Calais, France presents very few spots indeed, compared with her vast extent of surface, on which the eye can rest with either pleasure or admiration. Her mountains are destitute of sublimity, her vallies of beauty, Her fields, though fertile, are fenceless and slovenly cultivated, presenting a bold and frigid aspect." No pleasant seats or tasteful cottages, relieve the nakedness of the scenery. The villages, towns, and cities, almost without exception, are dull, gloomy, and dirty; destitute of every appearance of taste, elegance, and refinement. The pleasant promenades, parks, or open areas, with one or more of which most French towns are provided, hardly require a modification of this general remark. The streets are earrow and filthy, the houses are crowded together without order, in the closest "juinble," with neither yards or gardens, the exteriors clumsy and awkward, and the interiors gloomy and revolting, from their damp walls, stone foors, uncarpeted, and their loose, open windows, which admit as much air as light. Add to this their abominable system of cookery, the perfection of which lies in compounding every species of eatables in one mixture, properly seasoned with garlic and rancid oil; and the close, pent-up, prisonlike diligences,—and you have a picture not very attractive to the ease-seeking and luxury-loving Englishman. If any thing were wanting to make his bile actually run over, it would be supplied in the exactions and impositions, that are conscientiously practiced on him out of respect to his British blood. The French people themselves receive a more courteous treatment; and bis estimate of the French character, as we conceive, is not far from being just. He allows them superior attainments in pure, abstract
science, while he maintains, that they fall far behind their English neighbors in the cultivation and perfection of what pertains to the improvement of life. This we deem a correct comparison of the two nations. The Frenchman is theoretically, the EngJishman practically wise. Science owes some of her proudest defenders and supporters to France. The arts, generally, find there but few distinguished pupils. Indeed, the Frenchman looks only at the imaginary, the beau ideal; the actual, the beau real, lies below bis observation. He aims to realize a fancied perfection, one which exists but in his own brain, and there only because his own views are distorted and limited, and because he is misled by the expression of his own ideas. But for this he makes no allowance. He never conceives, that there can be anything beyond the horizon of his own intellectual vision. Hence it is, that his theories are always exhausting theories. He never dreams that language is a descriptive mirror of thought,—that it is possible for it to convey, even to the same mind, under different cireumstances, different images of the same object. He deals only in the monde spirituel, and its relations to the monde naturel, be does not understand. He therefore fails in all practical wisdom.
The religious and moral character of the French is barely alluded to. A writer, quoted with approbation, remarks, " that it is the want of genuine piety, that is at the bottom of all the faults in the French character.” This may, in a certain sense, be true; but not in the sense in which it would be generally apprehended. True piety would doubtless heal many defects ;-would perhaps eradicate that unfeeling selfisbness, which, all the arts of politesse cannot conceal,—and which discovers itself amid all the bows, courtly phrases, and obsequious airs that bespeak a Frenchman. It would curb the outbreaking of those low and degrading passions, which so much sully the French character ; check that disposition to maintain, at all hazards, personal rights real or imaginary, regardless of all conflicting interests, - which so much impairs his companionable and neighborly qualities; and would cure him of that total disregard of the means in the pursuit of a proper end, leading to those frequent revolutionary excitements which are ever disturbing the peace and security of the country. But there is a constitutional defect in the French character,--the effect perhaps, of the vices and irreligion, that have prevailed so long in France,-one which religion may, in a course of years, gradually wear away; but which the mere insusion of a spirit of piety would not instantly remove. The Gaul is all intellect and passion. The moral sentiments and affections, which tame and refine human nature,--which give to social life its gentleness, loveliness and charm, and to civil lise, its steadiness, security and strength, are with him woefully defective. This, we are satisfied, is the true key to the French character. It solves all its otherwise mysterious developments, and is the index to the history of strange events which have transpired in that land within the last century. It would be interesting to us to investigate the causes of this constitutional phenomenon, which, it is believed all candid and attentive observers will confirm, and to trace its influence on character, as exhibited in the peculiarities of habits, morals and opinions prevalent in France.
But this inquiry would lead us beyond our present limits.
The finest views from the Jura are those which embrace the mountains of Savoy, the lake of Geneva and the Pays de Vaud. Beyond is the immense chain of the Alps, with Mont Blanc, the monarch of mountains, at their head, presenting three very different and tolerably defined zones or regions; the first of snow, undulated like the white, feecy clouds of autumn; the second of a dark blue color, interspersed with many white points or perpendicular lines,—the region of wood and forest, sparkling with reflections from torrents, cliffs and glaciers ; the third, of sertility, covered with vineyards, corn-fields, gardens and plantations, and reaching down to the water's edge. Then comes the lake itself, like an immense mirror, sweeping round in a crescent from Geneva on the right, to Vevay and Chillon ou the extreme left,—while lastly, the soft and verdant Pays de Vaud, lies directly beneath the feet, overspread with the most luxuriant vegetation, and interspersed with towns, villages and villas. The drive also, through this fairy scene to Geneva, is one of surpassing beauty. “The view of the Jura on one side, and the Savoy mountains on the other, the pellucid waters of the lake, breaking, with gentle murmur, on the golden sands, along the very edge of the road, -the beams of the setting sun, gilding the snowy summits of the high Alps, and playing on glaciers, cliffs,
· And glittering streams, high gleaming from afar,'harmonizing with the freshness of the air, the serenity of the scene, the neatness of the cottages, the honest and cheerful countenances of the inhabitants, form a coinbination of magnificence and tranquillity, that defies the power of description, either in prose or verse.
The entrance into Geneva gives occasion for an outhurst of a British feeling of independence. Even in some of the Swiss cantons, that scourge of all travelers, the abominable passport-system, is still retained. The vexations and annoyances of this useless system, makes one's blood boil at the bare remembrance. “Europe is still, in this respect, what it was in the days of Roman dominion-one vast and dreary PRISON ! According to all just and good laws, a man is considered innocent, till he is proved to be guilty. Not so under the passport-system. There he is always suspected of being guilty, after repeated proofs of innocence.” The details too, are as ridiculous and execrable as the general spirit of the system itself. A man “ may dine in a town or village on the continent, and drink bis boule of wine, mount his mule or his carriage, and proceed without molestation,”-save perhaps, at the gate as he enters or departs. “ But if he sup, put on his night-cap, and go to bed, he is a suspected subject; and the master of the hotel is bound to bave him purified in the morning by a visit from a whiskered knight of the halbert, who bows, begs, and perhaps blusters, till the traveler gets rid of his accursed presence by a piece of money! The more petty, paltry and subjugated the principality or state through which you pass, the more rigorous the examination of your passport and baggage, lest you should be plotting against its independence (!!) or infringing "on its commerce!" For the necessity or utility of this barrassing passport-system, especially in the interior of kingdoms or states, no one ever could assign me a satisfactory reason. It supports a set of barpies, and keeps travelers in constant fear of losing their credentials,—That's ALL.” Of its utter inefficiency in preventing the passage of suspected or dangerous personages through the country, or their egress from it, conclusive evidence is furnished by the escape of the thirty-three prisoners from the prison of St. Pelagie, at Paris, in the month of July, 1835, in spite of all the boasted vigilance and energy of the French police, and notwithstanding that no combination of circumstances could be more favorable for the trial of the system ; the attempts of the refugees to escape, being kuown, the general direction of their flight suspected, and the distance they had to flee being very great, -- from Paris to Belgium, Germany or Switzerland. Yet every individual succeeded in evading this efficient passportsystem, and getting safe out of the kingdom !
Our valetudinarian physician hastens through Switzerland, along the northern shores of the Leman, up the romantic valley of the Rhine by the famous pass of the Simplon, into the classic regions of Italy.
He stops to examine into that horrible disease, cretinism, the disgusting victims of which force themselves upon the notice of the traveler all along the Valais.
of the causes of this disease, he gives but a very indebnite opinion. He conceives, however, that they are to be ascribed chiefly to physical agencies conjoined with certain moral causes,such as indolence, ignorance, filthiness, drunkenness and debauchery.
The passage of the Simplon is well and accurately described, and fair Italy receives the enraptured traveler. With all the infinite diversity of impressions and feelings occasioned by the ever-changing objects, that arrest the attention of the traveler in this
fairy land, there are two moments when he experiences a perfect similarity of feeling. They are the moment of entering and that of leaving Italy. It is difficult to say when the einotions of transport rise highest; at the time of first stepping foot on the ground hallowed by such rich associations, or of leaving forever the land of ignorance, oppression, bigotry, degradation and imposition.
The scenery from Baveno to Milan is rich and beautiful, as it is indeed, through the whole of northern Italy, although generally of the gentler kind, and somewhat monotonous. The eye
becomes weary at length, even of the unequaled luxuriance of the plains of Lombardy and Tuscany; but the earliest views first amaze and then enchant the mind. From the summit of the cathedral of Milan, that beautiful model of the light Gothic, a view is afforded which is perfectly unique. The eye takes in the long chain of the Alps from Genoa to Tyrol on the north, ranges across the broad plains of Lombardy, finding no limit but the hazy sky 10wards the east, rests on the distant Appenines at the south, and after having swept over a vast surface of unbroken territory, loses itself in the mists, that brood upon the far-distant Mediterranean,a scene, " magnificent beyond all description or even conception." The city of Milan itsell, presents few objects, that interest our author. lis spacious theater, amphitheater and the imposing triumphal arch which terminates the Simplon road, and serves as the northern gate of the city,—that intended monument of Napoleon's power and greatness, raised at his expense and under his own direction,-are the only objects, besides the cathedral, which draw fortlı the philosophic remarks and reflections of our traveler. For its ruins, its churches, its galleries, and what may be called the great lion of Milan,-the famous fresco of the last supper, by Leonardo da Vinci, Dr. Johnson's short sojourn of four or five days seems to have left him no leisure.
In traveling through Lombardy, the most striking feature in the natural scenery, is the long succession of fiumari,--dry channels of rivers or torrents, that every where traverse the country. These water-courses vary in breadth from a dozen yards to a mile, or even more. “They are foaming torrents one day, and empty channels the next. The mountains being often wrapt in clouds, the rains sall there, without any notice on the plains, till the torrent comes roaring along with tremendous rapidity, sweeping away every living creature that happens to be crossing the dry and rugged channels at the time.”
Here, also, and particularly as we approach the Appenines, the grounds present indescribable scenes of beauty and fertility. The soil is cultivated like a garden, and is so fertile, that it produces three or four crops of grain yearly; the hedges and in