תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

other districts, as in Berry and the northern acquisitions : coal is also drawn from the mines of Flanders, and of the districts near the source of the Loire. The stone with which Paris is built is drawn from quarries excavated, under the southern parts of the town itself; and the hill of Montniastre, which impends over the north quarter of the city, supplies abundance of gypsum, hence called by us plaster of Paris. The mineral waters of Barrèges, and Bagnères on the northern slopes of the Pyrenees, of Plombières in Lorraine, of Bourbon in the centre of tne country, have long been, celebrated; and by the late extension of the territory, the waters of Aix-la-Chapelle, of Spa, of Aix in Savoy, are to be reckoned as appertaining to France.

Animals. The horses of Normandy and the Limousin haye long been esteemed; the first for draught, the last for the saddle : and great pains have of late years been bestowed to improve their breed, as well as that of sheep and horned, cattle. In the tracts situated towards the Alps and, the, Pyrenees, the wolf and the bear are not uncommon; and the forests often present the wild boar. In the lofty moun. tairs around Mont Blanc, the bouquetin or ibex, by some naturalists supposed to be original stock of the goat, and the chamois, a species of antelope, excite the perilous attacks of the hụnter.

Vegetable productions. -Forests for timber and for fuel are found in many parts of France, and often of great extent : even at no great distance from Paris, the vast forests of St. Germain, Chantilly, Fontainbleau, Orleans, &c. present objects of great importance and value in themselves, as well as of much novelty, to the English eye. France, furnishes two vegetable productions unknown to England, wine and oil; the latter in the south-east corner, and the former distributed over many tracts of the centre and the south. The most esteemed wines are those of the banks of the Marne in Champagne, of the environs of Dijon in

Burgundy,

Burgundy; of Côte-Rotie, Hermitage, &c. on the banks of the Rhune; of Lunel, Frontignac (properly Frontignan) in Languedoc; of the environs of Bourdeaux, called by us Claret. The celebrated brandies of Cognac on the Charente, and of Nantes on the Loire, are drawn from wines of great body, but not much in request for the table, on account of their general asperity. The oils of Provence have long enjoyed a high estimation, approaching the nearest to the delicacy of the Tuscan oils.

Islands.- To France now belongs the island of Corsica, which shall be noticed in speaking of Italy: and a few unimportant isles lie along the shores of the Mediterranean, as those of Hieres near Toulon; in the Bay of Biscay are found Oleron, Rhé, Belle-isle, with the isles of Oessant, corrupted by us into Ushant, lying out before the harbour of Brest.

Religion.-Although the Roman catholic persuasion be that of the great body of the people in France, yet the Calvinists, who were always númerous in the west and south, labouring, however, under heavy restraints, and the Lutherans of the northern districts, have of late years been placed perfectly on a level with the adherents of the church of Rome, with respect to every civil right and privilege ; provision having even been made for the supposition of the emperor himself beinga non-catholic. The hierarchy of the church of Rome has been restored; but the extent of the several dioceses, parishes, &c. and the revenue of the several incumbents, have been regulated with a due regard to the station each is expected to maintain, and the duties he is required to perform. Measures have likewise been taken to remove certain distinctions which kept the Jews, who are numerous in the north-eastern parts of France, aloof from the common duties and interests of the state, under whose protection they prospered. Government Agreeably to the latest constitution of the R 2

Frencb

French empire, the executive authority is lodged entirely in the will of the emperor, who likewise has alone the power of proposing laws to the legislative body, to be by them accepted or rejected by secret scrutiny or by ballot, and that without any discussion whatever. Part of this legislative body is renewed every year, on the nomination of the senate, from lists prepared by the elective assemblies of the departments. These elective assemblies are convoked and dissolved by the emperor, who also appoints their respective presidents. The members of the senate are likewise appointed by the imperial authority, and they are empowered to act as ministers as well as to hold other places of profit under the crown; but they can proceed to business only on the proposal of the emperor. To enter deeper into the theory of the government of France, would be to trespass on the bounds prescribed for the work : neither has that government yet become so stable, as to warrant any very precise delineation of its features being presented to the reader, with the prospect of a durable resemblance.

[ocr errors]

SWITZERLAND.

Situation and extent. This very interesting country is bounded on the west by France, on the north and east by Germany, and on the south by Italy. It is situated between the parallels of north latitude 46° and 47, 50', and between east longitude 6o and 10°, 20' from Greenwich : the greatest length from west 10 east being about 180 geos graphic miles, and the greatest breadth from north to south about 105 miles. Within these limits are included the

Valais, Valais, the country of the Grisons, and some other little districts formerly considered as allies rather than as portions of Switzerland.

Population. The whole inhabitants were, in 1801, reckoned to be nearly a million and a half. Basil, an ancient and celebrated town, situated on an elbow of the Rhine, where it commences its long course to the northward, is supposed to contain 14,000 people. Berne, distinguished for its neatness and the beauty of its situation, contains 13,000. Zurich, a large and industrious town, is situated at the lower end of a noble lake. Lausanne, a town of 9,000 inhabitants, is noted for its admirable position in the midst of the fertile and populous country of Vaud, and commanding a most extensive and magnificent prospect of the great lake of Geneva, the precipitous mountains on the opposite shore, and the snowy summit of Mont Blanc far overtopping all the neighbouring ridges. Other chief towns are Friburg and Schaffhausen, each containing 6,000 inhabitants; Lucern and Soleure containing 5,000. Geneva and its territory, once considered as an ally of Switzerland, are now united to France,

Climate and soil.- From the generally mountainous nature of this country, all gradations of climate in respect to heat and cold are experienced : the sheltered banks of the lake of Geneva furnish abundance of light pleasant wine, while the summits of many lofty mountains are covered with everlasting snow. The air, however, of the whole country is celebrated for its salubrity, and thither invalids repaired from many quarters of Europe, for the re-establishment of their health.

Besides the wines of the Pays de Vaud, of the banks of the lake of Neufchatel, of the environs of Basil, &c. considerable quantities of grain were raised in the plains of the western parts of the country; but the other districts, from their billy and mountainous nature, were better adapted to

the

IC

the raising of cattle ; and great industry as well as ingenuity was displayed by the Swiss in conducting rills of water along their mountain-sides, for the purpose of improving their pastures.

Mountains.-Switzerland presents within its bounds, and upon its borders, the most elevated mountains of Europe. Mont Blanc may not properly be considered as a Swiss mountain, but the Schreckhorn rises to the height of 11,500 English feet above the sea. The Yung-frauhorn, Titlis, Finsteraar, are even supposed considerably to exceed that elevation; and besides these lofty peaks, the general elevation of Switzerland is manifest when we observe that some of the greatest rivers of Europe, which discharge their waters into the Atlantic, the Black Sea, the gulf of Venice, and the Mediterranean, have their most distant springs in that country.

Rivers - The Rhine, already mentioned as forming the boundary between France and Germany, rises in Mont St. Gothard, and runs north-easterly, near Coire, the capital of the Grison territory, into the lake of Constance; from which again issuing, it leads 'westerly to Schaffhausen, and a few miles below rushes over an inclined rocky precipice, forming a cascade of singular sublimity : thence passing through Basil; it begins its long northerly course to the sea. The Rhone, rising in the same Mont St. Gothard, at ho great distance from the sources of the Rhine, follows i westerly course through the districts of the Valais, by the capital, Sion, tó Martigny, where, bending to the northward, it is lost in the lake of Geneva ; and at the other extremity issuing with rapidity through the middle of the town of that name, soon quits the bounds of Switzerland, and enters France. Not far from the springs of the Rhone and the Rhine, arises the Inn, which, after a long north-easterly course, falls into the Danube at Passau : and on the south side of the same mountains, begins the Tesino, one of the

principal

« הקודםהמשך »