Francis W. Blagdon.

Paris as It Was and as It Is online

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PARIS

AS IT WAS AND AS IT IS;

OR

A Sketch of the French Capital,

ILLUSTRATIVE OF

THE EFFECTS OF THE REVOLUTION,

WITH RESPECT TO

SCIENCES,
LITERATURE,
ARTS,
RELIGION,
EDUCATION,
MANNERS,
AND
AMUSEMENTS;

COMPRISING ALSO

A correct Account of the most remarkable National Establishments and
Public Buildings.

In a Series of Letters,

WRITTEN BY AN ENGLISH TRAVELLER,

DURING THE YEARS 1801-2,

TO A FRIEND IN LONDON.

* * * * *

_Ipsâ varietate tentamus efficere, ut alia aliis, quædem fortasse
omnibus placeant. PLIN. Epist._

* * * * *


VOL. I

LONDON

1803



ADVERTISEMENT.

In the course of the following production, the Reader will meet with
several references to a Plan of Paris, which it had been intended to
prefix to the work; but that intention having been frustrated by the
rupture between the two countries, in consequence of which the copies
for the whole of the Edition have been detained at Calais, it is
hoped that this apology will be accepted for the omission.



CONTENTS.


VOLUME FIRST.

New Organization of the National Institute

INTRODUCTION

LETTER I.
On the ratification of the preliminary treaty of peace, the author
leaves London for Paris - He arrives at Calais on the 16th of October,
1801 - Apparent effect of the peace - After having obtained a passport,
he proceeds to Paris, in company with a French naval officer.

LETTER II.
Journey from Calais to Paris - Improved state of agriculture - None of
the French gun-boats off Boulogne moored with chains at the time of
the attack - St. Denis - General sweep made, in 1793, among the
sepultures in that abbey - Arrival at Paris - Turnpikes now established
throughout Prance - Custom-house scrutiny.

LETTER III.
Objects which first strike the observer on arriving at Paris after an
absence of ten or twelve years - Tumult in the streets considerably
diminished since the revolution - No liveries seen - Streets less
dangerous than formerly to pedestrians - Visits paid to different
persons by the author - Price of lodgings nearly doubled since 1789
- The author takes apartments in a private house.

LETTER IV.
Climate of Paris - _Thermolampes_ or stoves which afford light and
heat on an economical plan - Sword whose hilt was adorned with the
_Pitt_ diamond, and others of considerable value, presented to the
Chief Consul.

LETTER V.
Plan on which these letters are written.

LETTER VI.
The _Louvre_ or _National Palace of Arts and Sciences_ described
- _Old Louvre_ - Horrors of St. Bartholomew's day - From this palace
Charles IX fired on his own subjects - Additions successively made to
it by different kings - _Bernini_, sent for by Lewis XIV, forwarded
the foundation of the _New Louvre_, and returned to Italy - _Perrault_
produced the beautiful colonnade of the _Louvre_, the master-piece of
French architecture - Anecdote of the Queen of England, relict of
Charles I - Public exhibition of the productions of French Industry.

LETTER VII.
_Central Museum of the Arts_ - _Gallery of Antiques_ - Description of
the different halls and of the most remarkable statues contained in
them, with original observations by the learned connoisseur,
_Visconti_.

LETTER VIII.
Description of the _Gallery of Antiques_, and of its _chefs-d'oeuvre_
of sculpture continued and terminated - Noble example set by the
French in throwing open their museums and national establishments to
public inspection - Liberal indulgence shewn to foreigners.

LETTER IX.
General A - - y's breakfast - Montmartre - Prospect thence enjoyed
- Theatres.

LETTER X.
Regulations of the Police to be observed by a stranger on his arrival
in the French capital - Pieces represented at the _Théâtre Louvois_
- _Palais du gouvernement_ or Palace of the Tuileries described - It was
constructed, by Catherine de Medicis, enlarged by Henry IV and Lewis
XIII, and finished By Lewis XIV - The tenth of August, 1792, as
pourtrayed by an actor in that memorable scene - Number of lives lost
on the occasion - Sale of the furniture, the king's wardrobe, and
other effects found in the palace - _Place du Carrousel_ - Famous
horses of gilt bronze brought from Venice and placed here - The fate
of France suspended by a thread - Fall of _Robespiere_ and his
adherents.

LETTER XI.
Massacre of the prisoners at Paris in September, 1792 - Private ball
- The French much improved in dancing - The waltz described - Dress of
the women.

LETTER XII.
_Bonaparte_ - Grand monthly parade - Agility of the First Consul in
mounting his charger - Consular guards, a remarkably fine body of men
- Horses of the French cavalry, sorry in appearance, but capable of
enduring fatigue and privations.

LETTER XIII.
_Jardin des Tuileries_ - This garden now kept in better order than
under the monarchy - The newly-built house of _Véry_, the
_restaurateur_ - This quarter calls to mind the most remarkable events
in the history of the revolution - _Place de la Concorde_ - Its name is
a strong contrast to the great number of victims here sacrificed
- Execution of the King and Queen, _Philippe Égalité_, _Charlotte
Corday_, Madame _Roland_, _Robespiere_, _cum multus aliis_
- Unexampled dispatch introduced in putting persons to death by means
of the guillotine - _Guillotin_, the inventor or improver of this
instrument, dies of grief - Little impression left on the mind of the
spectators of these sanguinary scenes - Lord _Cornwallis_ arrives in
Paris.

LETTER XIV.
National fête, in honour of peace, celebrated in Paris on the 18th of
Brumaire, year X (9th of November, 1801) - _Garnerin_ and his wife
ascend in a balloon - Brilliancy of the illuminations - Laughable
accident.

LETTER XV.
Description of the fête continued - Apparent apathy of the people
- Songs composed in commemoration of this joyful event - Imitation of
one of them.

LETTER XVI.
_Gallery of the Louvre_ - _Saloon of the Louvre_ - Italian School - The
most remarkable pictures in the collection mentioned, with original
remarks on the masters by _Visconti_ - Lord _Cornwallis's_ reception
in Paris.

LETTER XVII.
_Gallery of the Louvre_ in continuation - French School - Flemish
School - The pictures in the _Saloon_ are seen to much greater
advantage than those in the _Gallery_ - _Gallery of Apollo_ - These
superb repositories of the finest works of art are indiscriminately
open to the public.

LETTER XVIII.
_Palais Royal_, now called _Palais du Tribunat_ - Its construction
begun, in 1629, by Cardinal _Richelieu_, who makes a present of it to
_Lewis_ XIII - It becomes the property of the Orleans family - Anecdote
of the Regent - Considerable alterations made in this palace - _Jardin
du Palais du Tribunat_ - This garden is surrounded by a range of
handsome buildings, erected in 1782 by the duke of Orleans, then duke
of Chartres - The _Cirque_ burnt down in 1797 - Contrast between the
company seen here in 1789 and in 1801 - The _Palais Royal_, the
theatre of political commotions - Mutual enmity of the queen and the
duke of Orleans, which, in the sequel, brought these great personages
to the scaffold - Their improper example imitated by the nobility of
both sexes - The projects of each defeated - The duke's pusillanimity
was a bar to his ambition - He exhausted his immense fortune to gain
partisans, and secure the attachment of the people - His imprisonment,
trial, and death.

LETTER XIX.
The _Palais du Tribunat_, an epitome of all the trades in Paris
- Prohibited publications - Mock auctions - _Magazins de confiance à prix
fixe_ - Two speculations, of a somewhat curious nature, established
there with success - _The Palais Royal_, a vortex of dissipation
- Scheme of _Merlin_ of Douay for cleansing this Augæan stable.

LETTER XX.
_Thé_, a sort of route - Contrast in the mode of life of the Parisians
before and since the revolution - _Petits soupers_ described - An
Englishman improves on all the French _bons vivans_ under the old
_régime_.

LETTER XXI.
Public places of various descriptions - Their title and number
- Contrast between the interior police now established in the theatres
in Paris, and that which existed before the revolution - Admirable
regulations at present adopted for the preservation of order at the
door of the theatres - Comparatively small number of carriages now
seen in waiting at the grand French opera.

LETTER XXII.
_Palais du Corps Législatif_ - Description of the hall of the sittings
of that body - Opening of the session - Speech of the President - Lord
_Cornwallis_ and suite present at this sitting - _Petits appartemens_
of the _ci-devant Palais Bourbon_ described.

LETTER XXIII.
_Halle au Blé_ - Lightness of the roof of the dome - Annual consumption
of bread-corn in _Paris_ - Astrologers - In former times, their number
in _Paris_ exceeded _30,000_ - Fortune-tellers of the present day
- Church of _St. Eustache_ - _Tourville_, the brave opponent of Admiral
_Russel_, had no epitaph - Festivals of reason described.

LETTER XXIV.
_Museum of French Monuments_ - Steps taken by the Constituent Assembly
to arrest the progress of Vandalism - Many master-pieces of painting,
sculpture, and architecture, destroyed in various parts of France
- _Grégoire_, ex-bishop of Blois, publishes three reports, to expose
the madness of irreligious barbarism, which claim particular
distinction. - They saved from destruction many articles of value in
the provinces - Antique monuments found in 1711, in digging among the
foundation of the ancient church of Paris - Indefatigable exertions of
_Lenoir_, the conservator of this museum - The halls of this museum
fitted up according to the precise character peculiar to each
century, and the monuments arranged in them in historical and
chronological order - Tombs of _Clovis_, _Childebert_, and
_Chilperic_ - Statues of _Charlemagne_, _Lewis IX_, and of _Charles_,
his brother, together with those of the kings that successively
appeared in this age down to king _John_ - Tombs of _Charles V_, _Du
Gueselin_, and _Sancerre_ - Mausolea of _Louis d'Orléans_ and of
_Valentine de Milan_ - Statues of _Charles VI_, _Rénée d'Orléans_,
_Philippe de Commines_, _Lewis XI_, _Charles VII_, _Joan_ of _Arc_,
_Isabeau de Bavière_ - Tomb of _Lewis XII_ - Tragical death of
_Charles_ the _Bad_.

LETTER XXV.
_Museum of French Monuments_ continued - Tombs of _Francis I_, of the
_Valois_, and of _Diane de Poitiers_ - Character of that celebrated
woman - Statues of _Turenne_, _Condé_, _Colbert_, _La Fontaine_,
_Racine_, and _Lewis XIV_ - Mausolea of Cardinals _Richelieu_ and
_Mazarin_ - Statues of _Montesquieu_, _Fontenelle_, _Voltaire_,
_Rousseau_, _Helvetius_, _Crébillon_, and _Piron_ - Tombs of
_Maupertuis_, _Caylus_, and Marshal _d'Harcourt_ - This museum
contains a chronology of monuments, both antique and modern, from
2500 years before our era down to the present time, beginning with
those of ancient Greece, and following all the gradations of the art
from its cradle to its decrepitude - Sepulchre of _Héloïse_ and
_Abélard_.

LETTER XXVI.
Dinner at General _A - - y's_ - Difference in the duration of such a
repast now and before the revolution - The General's ancestor,
_François A - - y_, planned and completed the famous canal of
Languedoc - _Dépôt de la guerre_ - Such an establishment much wanted in
England - Its acknowledged utility has induced Austria, Spain, and
Portugal, to form others of a similar nature - Geographical and
topographical riches of this _dépôt_.

LETTER XXVII.
_Boulevards_ - Their extent - Amusements they present - _Porte St.
Denis_ - Anecdote of Charles VI - _Porte St. Martin_ - _La Magdeleine_
- Ambulating conjurers - Means they employ to captivate curiosity.

LETTER XXVIII.
French funds and national debt - Supposed liquidation of an annuity
held by a foreigner before the war, and yet unliquidated - Value of a
franc.

LETTER XXIX.
Grand monthly parade - Etiquette observed on this occasion, in the
apartments of the palace of the _Tuileries_ - _Bonaparte_ - His person
- His public character in Paris - Obstruction which the First Consul
met with in returning from the parade - _Champs Elysées_ - Sports and
diversions there practised - Horses, brought from Marly to this spot,
the master-pieces of the two celebrated sculptors, _Costou_
- Comparison they afford to politicians.

LETTER XXX.
_Madonna de Foligno_ - Description of the method employed by the
French artists to transfer from pannel to canvass this celebrated
master-piece of _Raphael_.

LETTER XXXI.
_Pont Neuf_ - Henry IV - His popularity - Historical fact concerning the
cause of his assassination brought to light - The Seine swollen by the
rains - It presents a dull scene in comparison to the Thames - Great
number of washerwomen - _La Samaritaine_ - Shoe-blacks on the _Pont
Neuf_ - Their trade decreased - Recruiting Officers - The allurements
they formerly employed are now become unnecessary in consequence of
the conscription - Anecdote of a British officer on whom a French
recruiter had cast his eye - Disappointment that ensued.

LETTER XXXII.
Balls now very numerous every evening in Paris - _Bal du Salon des
Étrangers_ - Description of the women - Comparison between the French
and English ladies - Character of Madame _Tallien_ - Generosity,
fortitude, and greatness of soul displayed by women during the most
calamitous periods of the revolution - Anecdote of a young Frenchman
smitten by a widow - An attachment, founded on somewhat similar
circumstances, recorded by historians of Henry III of France
- Sympathy, and its effects.

LETTER XXXIII.
_Pont National_, formerly called the _Pont Royal_ - Anecdote of Henry
IV and a waterman - _Coup d'oeil_ from this bridge - Quays of Paris
- Galiot of St. Cloud - _Pont de la Concorde_ - Paris besieged by the
Swedes, Danes, and Normans, in 885 - The Seine covered with their
vessels for the space of two leagues - A vessel ascends the Seine from
Rouen to Paris in four days - Engineers have ever judged it
practicable to render the Seine navigable, from its mouth to the
capital, for vessels of a certain burden - Riches accruing from
commerce pave the way to the ruin of States, as well as the extension
of their conquests.

LETTER XXXIV.
French literature - Effects produced on it by the revolution - The
sciences preferred to literature, and for what reason - The French
government has flattered the literati and artists; but the solid
distinctions have been reserved for men of science - Epic Poetry
- Tragedy - Comedy - Novels - Moral Fable - Madrigal and Epigram - Romance
- Lyric Poetry - Song - Journals.

LETTER XXXV.
_Pont au Change_ - _Palais de Justice_ - Once a royal residence
- Banquet given there, in 1313, by Philip the Fair, at which were
present Edward II and his queen Isabella - Alterations which this
palace has undergone, in consequence of having, at different times,
been partly reduced to ashes - Madame _La Motte_ publicly whipped - In
1738, _Lewis XVI_ here held a famous bed of justice, in which
_D'Espresmenil_ struck the first blow at royalty - He was exiled to
the _Ile de St. Marguerite_ - After having stirred up all the
parliaments against the royal authority, he again became the humble
servant of the crown - After the revolution, the _Palais de Justice_
was the seat of the Revolutionary Tribunal - _Dumas_, its president,
proposed to assemble there five or six hundred victims at a time - He
was the next day condemned to death by the same tribunal - The _Palais
de Justice_, now the seat of different tribunals - The _grande
chambre_ newly embellished in the antique style - _La Conciergerie_,
the place of confinement of _Lavoisier_, _Malsherbes_, _Cordorcet_,
_&c._ - Fortitude displayed by the hapless _Marie-Antoinette_ after
her condemnation - _Pont St. Michel_ - _Pont Notre-Dame_ - Cathedral of
_Notre-Dame_ - Anecdote of _Pepin_ the Short - Devastations committed
in this cathedral - Medallions of _Abélard_ and _Héloïse_ to be seen
near _Notre-Dame_ in front of the house where _Fulbert_, her supposed
uncle, resided - _Petit Pont_ - _Pont au Double_ - _Pont Marie_ - Workmen
now employed in the construction of three new bridges - _Pont de la
Tournelle_.

LETTER XXXVI.
Paris a charming abode for a man of fortune - Summary of its
advantages - _Idalium_ - _Tivoli_ - _Frascati_ - _Paphos_ - _La
Phantasmagorie_ of _Robertson_ - _Fitzjames_, the famous
ventriloquist - Method of converting a galantee-show into an
exhibition somewhat similar to that of the phantasmagorists.

LETTER XXXVII.
Paris the most melancholy abode in the world for a man without money
- _Restaurateurs_ - In 1765, _Boulanger_ first conceived the idea of
_restoring_ the exhausted animal functions of the delibitated
Parisians - He found many imitators - The _restaurateurs_, in order to
make their business answer, constitute themselves _traiteurs_ - _La
Barrière_ - _Beauvilliers_, _Robert_, _Naudet_, and _Véry_ dispute the
palm in the art of Appicius - Description of _Beauvilliers'_
establishment - His bill of fare - Expense of dining at a fashionable
_restaurateur's_ in Paris - Contrast between establishments of this
kind existing before the revolution, and those in vogue at the
present day - Cheap eating-houses - The company now met with at the
fashionable rendezvous of good cheer compared with that seen here in
former times - _Cabinets particuliers_ - Uses to which they are
applied - Advantages of a _restaurateur's_ - _Beauvilliers_ pays great
attention to his guests - Cleanly and alert waiters - This
establishment is admirably well managed.


VOLUME SECOND.

LETTER XXXVIII.
National Institution of the Deaf and Dumb - France indebted to the
philanthropic _Abbé de l'Épée_ for the discovery of the mode of
instructing them - It has been greatly improved by _Sicard_, the
present Institutor - Explanation of his system of instruction - The
deaf and dumb are taught grammar, metaphysics, logic, religion, the
use of the globes, geography, arithmetic, history, natural history,
arts and trades - Almost every thing used by them is made by
themselves - Lessons of analysis which astonish the spectators.

LETTER XXXIX.
Public women - Charlemagne endeavours to banish them from Paris - His
daughters, though addicted to illicit enjoyments, die universally
regretted - _Les Filles Dieu_ - _Les Filles pénitentes ou repenties_
- Courtesans - Luxury displayed in their equipages and houses - Kept
women - Opera-dancers - Secret police maintained by Lewis XVI, in 1792
- Grisettes - Demireps - A French woman, at thirty, makes an excellent
friend - _Rousseau's_ opinion of this particular class of women in
Paris.

LETTER XL.
National Institution of the Industrious Blind - Circumstance which
gave rise to this establishment - _Valentin Haüy_, its founder, found
his project seconded by the Philanthropic Society - His plan of
instruction detailed - Museum of the Blind - After two or three
lessons, a blind child here teaches himself to read without the
further help of any master.

LETTER XLI.
_Théâtre des Arts et de la République_, or Grand French opera - Old
opera-house burnt down, and a new one built and opened in 72 days
- Description of the present house - Operas of _Gluck_; also those of
_Piccini_ and _Sacchini_ - Gluckists and Piccinists - The singing is
the weakest department at the French opera - Merits of the singers of
both sexes - Choruses very full - Orchestra famous - The Chief Consul,
being very partial to Italian music, sends to that land of harmony to
procure the finest musical compositions.

LETTER XLII.
Dancing improved in France - Effect of some of the ballets - _Noverre_
and _Gardel_ first introduce them on the French stage - Rapid change
of scenery - Merits of the dancers of both sexes - The rector of St.
Roch refuses to admit into that church the corpse of Mademoiselle
_Chameroi_ - The dancers in private society now emulate those who make
dancing their profession - Receipts of the opera.

LETTER XLIII.
New year's day still celebrated in Paris on the 1st of January
- Customs which prevail there on that occasion - _Denon's_ account of
the French expedition to Egypt - That country was the cradle of the
arts and sciences - _Fourrier_ confirms the theory of _Dupuis_,
respecting the origin, &c. of the figures of the Zodiac.

LETTER XLIV.
_Hôtel des Invalides_ - It was projected by Henry IV and erected by
Lewis XIV - Temple of Mars - To its arches are suspended the standards
and colours taken from the enemy - Two British flags only are among
the number - Monument of _Turenne_ - Circumstances of his death - Dome
of the _Invalides_ - Its refectories and kitchens - Anecdote of Peter
the Great - Reflections on establishments of this description - _Champ
de Mars_ - _École Militaire_ - Various scenes of which the _Champ de
Mars_ has been the theatre - Death of _Bailly_ - Modern national fêtes
in France, a humble imitation of the Olympic games.

LETTER XLV.
Object of the different learned and scientific institutions, which,
before the revolution, held their sittings in the _Louvre_ - Anecdote
of Cardinal Richelieu - National Institute of Arts and Sciences
- Organization of that learned body - Description of the apartments of
the Institute - Account of its public quarterly meeting of the 15th
Nivose, year X, (5th of January, 1802) - Marriage of Mademoiselle
_Beauharnois_ to _Louis Bonaparte_.

LETTER XLVI.
_Opéra Buffa_ - The Italian comedians who came to Paris in 1788, had a
rapid influence on the musical taste of the French public - Performers
of the new Italian company - Productions of _Cimarosa_, _Paësiello_,
&c. - Madame _Bolla_.

LETTER XLVII.
Present state of public worship - Summary of the proceedings of the
constitutional clergy - National councils of the Gallican church held
at Paris - Conduct of the Pope, _Pius VII_ - The Cardinal Legate,
_Caprara_, arrives in Paris - The Concordat is signed - Subsequent
transactions.

LETTER XLVIII.
_Pantheon_ - Description of this edifice - _Marat_ and _Mirabeau_
pantheonized and dispantheonized - The remains of _Voltaire_ and
_Rousseau_ removed hither - The Pantheon in danger of falling - This
apprehension no longer exists - _Bonaparte_ leaves Paris for Lyons.

LETTER XLIX.
Scientific societies of Paris - _Société Philotechnique_ - _Société
Libre des Sciences, Lettres, et Arts_ - _Athénée des Arts_ - _Société
Philomatique_ - _Société Académique des Sciences_ - _Société
Galvanique_ - _Société des Belles-Lettres_ - _Académie de Législation_
- _Observateurs de l'Homme_ - _Athénée de Paris_.

LETTER L.
Coffee-houses - Character of the company who frequent them - Contrast
between the coffee-houses of the present and former times - Coffee
first introduced at Paris, in 1669, by the Turkish ambassador - _Café
méchanique_ - Subterraneous coffee-houses of the _Palais du
Tribunat_.

LETTER LI.
Public instruction - The ancient colleges and universities are
replaced by Primary Schools, Secondary Schools, Lyceums, and Special
Schools - National pupils - Annual cost of these establishments
- Contrast between the old system of education and the new plan,
recently organized.

LETTER LII.
Milliners - _Montesquieu's_ observation on the commands of the fair
sex - Millinery a very extensive branch of trade in Paris - _Bal de
l'Opéra_ - Dress of the men and women - Adventures are the chief object
of those who frequent these masquerades.

LETTER LIII.
_Théâtre Français de la République_ - The house described - List of the
stock-pieces - Names of their authors - _Fabre d'Eglantine_ - His
_Philinte de Molière_ a _chef-d'oeuvre_ - Some account of its author
- _La Chaussée_ the father of the _drame_, a tragi-comic species of
dramatic composition.

LETTER LIV.
Principal performers in tragedy at the _Théâtre Français_ - _Vanhove_,
_Monvel_, _St. Prix_, and _Naudet_ - _Talma_, and _Lafond_ - _St. Fal_,
_Damas_, and _Dupont_ - Mesdames _Raucourt_ and _Vestris_ - Mesdames
_Fleury_, _Talma_, _Bourgoin_, and _Volnais_ - Mesdames _Suin_ and
_Thénard_ - _Début_ of Mademoiselle _Duchesnois_; Madame _Xavier_, and
Mademoiselle _Georges_ - Disorderly conduct of the _Duchesnistes_, who
are routed by the _Georgistes_.

LETTER LV.
Principal performers in comedy at the _Théâtre Français_ - _Vanhove_,
and _Naudet_ - _Molé_, _Fleury_, and _Baptiste_ the elder - _St. Fal_,
_Dupont_, _Damas_, and _Armand_ - _Grandménil_, and _Caumont_
- _Dugazon_, _Dazincourt_, and _Larochelle_ - Mesdemoiselles _Contat_,
and _Mézeray_ - Madame _Talma_ - Mesdemoiselles _Mars, Bourgoin_, and
_Gros_ - Mesdemoiselles _Lachassaigne_ and _Thénard_ - Mesdemoiselles
_Devienne_ and _Desbrosses_ - Contrast between the state of the French
stage before and since the revolution.



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