A rich man's purse, a poor man's soul is thine;
Starving thy body that thy heirs may dine. —Lucillius
Lost riches are bewailed with deeper sighs
Than friends or kindred, and with louder cries. —Jurenal
Nothing stings more deeply than the loss of money. —Livy.
Prosperity asks for fidelity: but adversity demands it. —Seneca.
It requires greater firmness to sustain good fortune than bad. —La Rochefoucauld.
Fortune is never stable; is always changing; strikes down the prosperous and exalts the lowly. —Ausonius.
Men usually judge as to the prudence of a plan by the result, and are apt to say that the successful man has shown much forethought, and the unsuccessful much want of it. —Cicero.
I know of nothing in the world more sensible than to turn the folly of others to our own advantage. —Goethe.
Can anything be more absurd than, the nearer we are to our journey's end, to lay in the more provision for it. —Cicero.
Happy the man whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air
In his own ground.
Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire;
Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
In winter, fire.
Blest, who can unconcern'dly find
Hours, days, and years, slide soft away
In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day.
Sound sleep by night; study and ease
Together mix'd; sweet recreation.
And innocence, which most does please
Thus let me live, unseen unknown;
Thus unlamented let me die;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lie.
Peopled as it was by barbarous and thinly scattered tribes, which except for a few implements and weapons have left no trace of their existence, the France of aboriginal days has no place in history, no mark even of the usages or speech of those who first inhabited its soil. Far different was it with the tribes that Caesar found there—the brave, mercurial, nimble-witted Gaul, and his kinsman, the phlegmatic and thoughtful Belgian, resembling rather the German in physical and intellectual qualities. From the union of these tribes comes, the modern Frenchman, though not without other race intermixtures. After conquering the Gauls, Caesar became their sovereign, and for more than four centuries the country was subject to Roman domination, at the end of which period hill fortresses and villages of wattled huts, hidden in the heart of swamp or forest, had given place to prosperous cities with Roman customs, cults, and laws, where was spoken in corrupted form the Latin tongue. In the second century came Christianity, spreading quickly throughout the land, though at a much later era St. Martin of Tours found many pagan temples to destroy and multitudes of heathen to convert.
Early in the fifth century we find the Germans settled in Gaul, and somewhat later the Franks, a confederation of Germanic f tribes, first among whom were the Salians, headed by a clan called Merwings, or Merovingians, their chieftain Clovis plundering the country and putting to death without scruple all his more powerful neighbors. Yet to say this wholesale robber and murderer France owes her origin as a nation, her Salic laws, and her feudal system. The Merovingian monarchy reached its culminating point under Dagobert, who toward the middle of the seventh century held splendid court in Paris, the dynasty, except for a nominal existence, coming to an end soon after his death.
Then appeared the Carolingian family, first under Martin and Pepin, and then under Charles Martel, natural son of the latter, his victory at Tours checking the northward incursions of the Saracens, with results that were far-reaching in the later history of Europe. In 771 began the reign of Charlemagne, the great German lord whose deeds and legends were the wonder of the world. After long and successful warfare, on Christmas eve of the year 800 he was crowned emperor of the Romans with the title of Augustus, his authority, accepted alike by Germans and Gallo-Romans, being acknowledged even by the sovereign of the East, the caliph Haroun-al-Raschid, who dispatched to his court an embassy laden with costly and curious presents. The brief remainder of his days Charlemagne devoted to the consolidation and improvement of his empire, with a singleness of aim and nobility of purpose that needed but a few years more of life to stamp him as the founder of an historic epoch; for his activity was many sided, and by later generations was felt the magic influence of his name. Of his three great palaces he preferred the one at Aix-Ia-Chapelle, the townhouse erected on its site in 1353 still containing the splendid coronation hall of the emperors. Adjoining it, where now stands a portion of the cathedral, was a chapel later destroyed by the Normans, and in this sanctuary, which he had founded in the city that he loved so well his remains were laid at rest.
Within thirty years after the death of Charlemagne, his magnificent empire came to an end, and on its ruins arose several European nations, this being a time of confusion and rapine attended with unutterable woes to the body of the people, nine-tenths of whom were little better than slaves. Meanwhile the great lords were growing in power; the bishops lived in luxury in the cities and the abbots in country mansions.
Says the deacon Florus speaking of this period; "A beautiful empire flourished under a brilliant diadem. The Frankish nation shone with a brilliant light before the eyes of the whole world. Foreign kingdoms, the Greeks, the barbarians, and the senate of Latium all sent their embassies thither. Rome herself, the mother of kingdoms, bowed down to this nation. Fallen now, this great power has lost at once its glory, and the name of empire; the kingdom, once firmly united, is divided into three portions; instead of a king we have a kinglet, and instead of a "kingdom a mere fragment of a kingdom.”
During the reign of Charles the Bold the Norsemen and Vikings made their appearance on the coasts of France, in their swift, light, craft, pillaging towns and farms, and putting to sea with their booty before any opposing force could be brought against them. Rouen, Nantes, and Bordeaux were plundered. Tours was captured and its abbey of St. Martin burned; the abbey of St. Germain was sacked in sight of the gates of Paris, and in 857 the churches of Paris were destroyed and the abbot of St. Denis led into captivity. Sanctuaries were made the objective point of attack because stored there for safe-keeping were the treasures of the inhabitants, their money, jewelry, plate, and precious stones. Withdrawing themselves on payment of a large sum in gold, these bands of freebooters were succeeded by others, their raids ending only when there was nothing left worth carrying away. Then they settled on the land itself, engaging in husbandry under their chieftain Rolf, or Rollo, to whom early in the tenth century Charles the Simple granted a portion of his territory, with the hand of his daughter in marriage, the Norseman turning Christian and suffering himself to be baptized. Crowds of adventurers followed, and all were provided with the means of earning a livelihood; so that Normandy became one of the most powerful and prosperous of European countries, Duke William in the following century adding the British islands to his continental domain.
With Hugh Capet begins the real history of France as a kingdom, though his rule, disputed by Charles of Lorraine, was confirmed only by the hearty support of the Normans. In Brittany and in the south of France he was never acknowledged, the Aquitanians dating their documents "In the reign of God until there shall be a king." Only through a close alliance with the clergy, whom he loaded with gifts, could he uphold his unstable throne, his entire; reign being a struggle to retain his possessions, or what was left of them after rewarding his followers. More fortunate was his son and successor Robert the Debonair, as he was called; a mild docile, kindly man, the delight of monkish chroniclers for his piety, charity, and feebleness of character.
Each day he fed a few thousand of the poor, and most of his time was passed in prayer and the writing and singing of hymns. He was entirely under the control of the priests, putting away his first wife at the bidding of the pope and taking in her place Constance of Aquitaine, who brought to his court a crowd of followers detested by the clergy and despised by the people for their effeminate tastes and habits. Speaking of the new courtiers, the chronicler Rudulfus Glaber remarks: "We find France and Burgundy overrun by a new kind of people, who were at once the vainest and most frivolous of men. Their mode of life, their clothes, their armor, and the trappings of their horses were all equally fantastic; true buffoons whose shaven chins, small-clothes, ridiculous boots, and indeed their whole appearance announced the disorder of their mind.”
In the reign of Philip I began the crusades, a host of French pilgrims under Peter the Hermit starting eastward in the summer of 1096, hoping to exchange for their promised home in Palestine the present miseries of France. But with this great movement the monarch was not in sympathy, either as a source of glory or of wealth, preferring rather the sale of benefices and the debasement of the coinage, whereby a most dangerous precedent was established for those who came after him. Notwithstanding the attendant loss of life the crusades were a benefit to Europe and especially to France, ridding her of a most undesirable element in her population, arousing a spirit of enterprise among her dormant and down-trodden people. Towns woke into life; many new buildings and especially church buildings were erected and literature began to find a home outside the walls of monasteries, the investigations of Abelard arousing an intellectual activity which at the close of the twelfth century led to the founding of the university of Paris the mother of all, the learned institutions of modern Europe.
During the earlier feudal period the lot of the people had in truth been a hard one. Wars were interminable; for the sword was the only appeal for him who had suffered wrong. The plains were converted into battlefields and the hills into fortresses, where feudal lords surrounded with armor-clad warriors, grew rich by pillage or rapine. Wealth was more often a curse than a blessing; for those who possessed it were liable to be imprisoned and tortured until they surrendered their treasures. There was no commerce, for the roads were infested with brigands and the streets with assassins lying in wait for men with well filled purses; there were no industries, for if any were attempted they were speedily taxed out of existence; there was no legitimate coinage, for most of the lords coined their own money and would take none but their own in payment. Finally pestilence and famine stalked through the land, one or both these visitations prevailing in a majority of years.
Better was the condition of affairs during the reign of Louis the Fat, whose unwieldy bulk was no impediment to his activity. To the towns he granted such privileges as made them the refuge of the community against feudal oppression. Bearing the oriflamme of St. Denis, he marched to battle or siege at the head of loyal and enthusiastic followers, declaring himself the champion of the burgher life which he had created. Thus in the struggle against feudalism the people were on his side, and had his successor been like him, France would have been welded into one great monarchy centuries before it was done. In a word Louis was the first real king of France, a man of noble parts, liberal, unselfish, and a father to his subjects, who felt not his light and easy yoke. Among his public works was the partial restoration of the abbey of St. Denis, the burial place of Frankish and other kings from the days when Dagobert erected there a basilica for Benedictine monks. It was many times altered and restored before the architect of Napoleon III converted it into one of the finest specimens of Gothic architecture.
Philip Augustus, grandson of Louis, shared with Richard the lion-hearted the barren honors of the third crusade, returning homeward after the capture of Ptolemais aweary of such uncongenial sport. Though nine fierce battles were fought before its walls, the fanatical hatred of Christians and infidels had given place to a chivalrous interchange of courtesies, Saladin sending presents of Damascus fruits to the opposing camp and receiving in return Parisian jewelry.
Other wars Philip had, first with the dukes of Burgundy and Normandy, and then with England, more than doubling the royal domain. Then devoting himself to the arts of peace he made of Paris one of the finest cities of the middle ages, erecting the cathedral of Notre Dame, founding the university of Paris, providing the city with markets, improving its streets, and strengthening its defenses. By some he has been termed a great king but not a great man, and this he showed in one of the first acts of his reign, banishing the Jews but allowing them to return on payment of a fine; for like other Christian monarchs, he regarded men of the Hebrew race merely as instruments for the gathering of gold wherewith to replenish the royal treasury.
Under the care of Louis IX, with whose disastrous expeditions the crusading era comes to an end, the university of Paris rose into high repute and, such men as Roger Bacon, Thomas Aquinas, Art and literature Albertus Magnus being numbered among its students, were freely patronized, and while Robert of Sorbon was founding his ecclesiastical college, the king erected his Sainte Chapelle then the finest, architectural monument of the capital. Louis was the first monarch who summoned burghers to his council, asking their advice on questions of commerce and finance. His laws, based largely on Roman models, were aimed against feudal privileges and oppressions. "Know ye” reads a statute of 1257, "that on the deliberations of our council we have prohibited all wars within our kingdom, all destruction by fire, and all prevention of agriculture."
Philip the Rash and Philip the Fair were the successors of Louis IX, the latter ruling over a larger kingdom than had fallen to any of his predecessors; for Navarre was his by inheritance, and from Edward I of England he received an extensive province in return for a yearly rental of 3,000 livres, which rental he never paid. Philip was always in want of money, and so long as it might be had was entirely indifferent as to the means. He taxed whom and whatsoever he could, from the nobles and clergy down to the peasantry, and now began the flood of taxation which culminated in the days of Louis XV; from the Jews he extorted the little that was left after the fines and confiscations of former years; he tampered with the coinage, sold privileges to towns, and in a word converted into cash about everything that was convertible. Of all his measures none have been so universally condemned as the destruction of the order of Templars and the seizure of their property. As the representatives of the crusaders and of the nobility of France, this military fraternity possessed many thousands of manors and castles, extending almost throughout Christendom, its members united under the control of a grand master in firmly cemented organization. It was moreover a wealthy order, with 150,000 gold florins in its treasury, in addition to countless vessels in gold and silver. On an appointed day all the Templars in France were arrested, on charges of impiety and immorality; many were tortured, and more than sixty were burned at the stake, among them the ill grand master and other dignitaries, who suffered fearful things in their dungeon cells. During the reign of Philip the nobles met with a crushing defeat at the hands of burghers on what was known as The Day of the Spurs, when 4,000 gilt spurs were hung as trophies in the cathedral of Courtrai.
Passing over the Hundred Years' war and the two centuries of war which followed, let us turn to the annals of the modern kingdom, when early in the Bourbon dynasty Richelieu appears on the scene, and for nearly a score of years guides the destinies of Louis and of France.
The following words attributed to the great cardinal represent, whether uttered by him or not, the guiding principles of his cold and resolute policy. “I venture on nothing without first thinking it out; but once decided, I go straight to the point, overthrow or cut down whatever stands in my way, and finally cover it over with my cardinal’s robe.” As to this policy it may further be said that, while in his earlier days it was his aim to build up a powerful monarchy based on the good will of the people, once that monarchy was established the people were ignored, and the nobles and clergy alike made subject to his iron rule. At Rochelle he destroyed the power of the Huguenots, long a standing menace to the Bourbons; elsewhere he crushed out all serious resistance, and in Italy his successful, if somewhat theatrical campaigns, reduced Savoy to submission. Against Spain and the Spanish Netherlands his wars were less successful, though the last battles of the Thirty Years' war were won by France, and as Michelet remarks, "the cession of Sedan was the last present made by Richelieu to France.”
While Richelieu exalted the country which he loved so well and ruled so harshly almost into the position of the second empire, it was only accomplished after many sacrifices inflicted with merciless severity. He greatly increased the burdens of France; for the purses and persons of nobles and burghers were alike at his command. The church and the parliaments were subservient; the states-general was silent, and no longer was disputed the sovereign's right to levy taxes and issue arbitrary decrees. Thus was destroyed all healthy civic life, all the better elements of a society which, unfettered and working in harmony, might have given prosperity to the nation through the unfolding of her splendid resources, might have secured for her the undisputed sovereignty among the nations of the world. If Richelieu recreated France it was not a healthful recreation, and in the despotism of the eighteenth century we read a sad comment on the effects of his policy, as in the in revolution we read the story of its punishment, common with his successor Mazarin Richelieu was a friend to literature and art, some of the greatest men of this the great age of letters accepting his patronage, though others of more independent character refused his honors and rewards. By him were established the French academy and the royal printing press, while at his palace were to be found the best artists of the day, though there was seen only the splendor and not the genius of art.
It was not until the death of Mazarin in 1661 that Louis XIV began to reign; for though twenty-two years of age and for eighteen years a king, he had been but the nominal ruler of subjects governed by the cardinal. From him he received the lessons in kingcraft and dissimulation on which he framed his career taking up without flinching the heavy burden of kingly duties and ceremonies which he sustained for more than half a century.
He was a man of mediocre ability and of somber temperament, persistent even to obstinacy, and with a liking for the details and minutiae of public business and public ceremonials, thus well adapted for a court where life was one endless succession of dull routine and ceremonial. When handing the reins to his former pupil, Mazarin had explained to him the desperate condition of the public finances, recommending Colbert, a man of Scotch descent and with the strict common-sense business methods of a Scotchman, as the one best fitted for the occasion. Then he offered him his entire fortune, amounting as money is now valued to more than $50,000,000. This the monarch refused, and with a portion of it was founded the college of the Four Nations, to which was also bequeathed the magnificent library built up on Richelieu's collection. During his lifetime the cardinal founded an academy of painting and sculpture, introduced Italian opera into Paris, and had he done as much for his country as for science, literature, and art, would better have deserved his brilliant reputation as a statesman and a diplomatist.
Colbert was confronted with an empty treasury, a yearly deficit of 22,000,000 livres, and a financial system under which half the taxes were consumed in collecting. This he soon remedied, dealing sternly with officials, abolishing all useless offices, and in a few years reversing the condition of affairs, so that a surplus took the place of a deficit, and meanwhile the burdens of the people were considerably lightened. Then followed some of the best years that France had seen; for his financial measures were but the groundwork on which to rear the superstructure of national prosperity. Manufactures and commerce were his care, with the means of communication necessary for their development; but for agriculture, then as now the mainstay of the country, he would do nothing.
Royal factories were established, with bounties for the production of articles of luxury as mosaics, cabinet-work, laces, tapestries, silks, and cloth of gold. Roads and canals were built or improved and commercial enterprises set on foot, partly with a view to colonization. For Louis a magnificent palace, surrounded with parks and gardens, was erected at Versailles the former, hunting lodge of the Bourbons, the total cost exceeding 1,000,000,000 francs. There were the two Trianons, Grand and Petit, the former with richly furnished apartments and valuable works of art, including some of the malachite vases presented to Napoleon by Alexander I of Russia. Le Petit Trianon, originally built of porcelain as a summer-house for Madame de Montespan, remarkable chiefly for its associations. Here Louis XVI passed the happiest days of his troubled reign, while Marie Antoinette fed her chickens milked her cows and, played the part of shepherdess at her private theatricals. Here also Napoleon sojourned for a time before his divorce from Josephine, of whom he said, "Her memory will always remain engraven on my heart.” By Perrault was begun the stately colonnade of the Louvre, and from Rome Bernini and other architects were summoned to aid in building up the new metropolis. Many and costly were the richly decorated structures reared during Colbert's administration; quays, plazas, and triumphal gates were among his improvements, and never before had Paris been so well paved and lighted. By him were established academies of science, architecture, and inscriptions; an observatory was founded, and to literature and art he extended liberal though baneful patronage; for Colbert stifled genius, attempting to guide and control it as he would control a band of workmen.
If Louis XIV was not a great king, he was a great actor of royalty, and none of the Bourbons could have played so well his part of le grand monarque. Perhaps he was never seen to better advantage than at the masked balls, theatrical entertainments, and apartments given at the palace of Versailles, the last being held in winter and in the nature of a reunion attended by the nobles of the court and by young and beautiful women resplendent with jewelry and diamonds. In summer royal supper parties were followed by boating on the canal in illuminated gondolas, Madame de Maintenon always taking her seat near the king, through whom, as his wife, though never publicly acknowledged, her power was widely felt. The parks and grounds of Versailles presented a brilliant spectacle; nor was there less of splendor when court was held at Marly, or Trianon, the members appearing in rich attire on horseback or in handsome carriages.
Splendid also were the fetes held in the palace, as at the marriage of the duke of Burgundy to the daughter of the king of Sardinia. The costumes of lords and ladies, of princes and princesses were of exceeding richness and ablaze with precious stones, a small apron worn by the bride costing a thousand pistoles. The gallery was illumined with thousands of wax tapers, whose lights were multiplied by mirrors, and through a contrivance known as tables ambulantes, flower gardens, fruit-laden trees, and exotic plants adorned this midwinter festivity.
A few months after the death of Louis, John Law appears on the scene, his project for a bank which should issue paper money, control the commerce of the nation, collect its taxes, and meet its obligations, commending itself to the minister of finance, who saw in truth no other means of escape from the frightful incubus of debt. First of all a private bank was founded, and this answering well was followed by the Banque Royale, of both of which Law was manager, the note circulation of the latter, guaranteed by the king, reaching a total of 110,000,000 livres. In connection with it was the great Mississippi Company, with its grant of Louisiana, as yet an unknown region but reputed to be marvelously rich. Its shares of the par value of 500 livres were greedily taken, and then began a speculative mania such as has never been witnessed before or since. So-called securities, absolutely worthless, daily and hourly increased in price; everyone was becoming rich; poverty was banished from the land, and on the soaring wings of this counterfeit wealth the kingdom, and its subjects would be raised from bankruptcy to opulence. Law purchased several titled estates and became a name more puissant than royalty itself monarchs, and the proudest of European aristocracy paying court to him as the embodiment of financial genius. The national debt of 1,500,000,000 livres, was but a trifle and could be redeemed in notes which would doubtless be invested in the company's shares to be issued in quantities to suit. In December 1719 these shares had risen to 20,000 livres, or forty times their nominal price, representing a total valuation of 12,000,000,000 livres. Then came the inevitable collapse, followed by universal confusion and distress, the nation being left to struggle under a load of embarrassments which threatened the overthrow of the monarchy.
The inglorious reign of Louis XV under the mistress-government of Madame de Pompadour prepared the way place for the disasters which befell his grandson, a kindly, well-meaning, but excessively stupid man, one utterly unfitted to grapple with the complex problems of his age.
The reign of Louis XVI began hopefully though aimlessly, the king and queen playing the part of Paul and Virginia amid their idyllic court at Petit Trianon, where were occasional gala days and always a little alms-giving. Turgot, his trusted but unpopular minister of finance, he was compelled to dismiss, exclaiming with a sigh, “Turgot and I are the only men in France who care is for the people." But the people were beginning to care for themselves, no longer content to put their trust in princes. Necker for a time arrested the impending crisis; but after his resignation Marie Antoinette became the virtual ruler of France, selecting her ministers with womanly impulse and lack of judgment. One of them, after borrowing 35,000,000 francs within little more than two years, left in the treasury, as related by his successor Calonne, '' two little bags of gold with 1,200 francs in each," the deficit in revenue, meanwhile, increasing until for 1786 it exceeded 160,000,000 francs. "There was neither money nor credit,” says Calonne; the current debts of the crown were immense; the income pledged far in advance; the resources dried up; property valueless; the coinage debased, and the nation on the verge of bankruptcy. By way of remedy he proposed a still more profuse expenditure, in accordance with the maxim, "Waste is the true alms giving of kings.” The queen must have all she wanted to satisfy her extravagant frivolities and love of amusement; but these were carried to such extremes that the anger of the populace was kindled against her, and now the end drew near.
The procession held on the day before the opening of the states-general in 1789 is thus in described by the Marquis de Ferrieres, one of those who were present. The streets were hung with the embroidered tapestries of the crown; the French and Swiss guards formed an unbroken line from the cathedral of Notre Dame to St. Louis; the balconies were adorned with costly fabrics, and the windows crowded with spectators of all ages and of either sex. Bands of music filled the air with melodious strains, intermingled with the rolling of drums, the clang of trumpets, and the chant of priests. The nobles appeared in cloth of gold, silk cloaks, and lace cravats; the bishops in purple robes, and the clergy in surplices and mantles. The king was seated on a richly decorated platform; below him were the princes, ministers, and officers of state; opposite was the queen; the princesses and ladies of court, superbly dressed and glittering with diamonds, forming a magnificent retinue.
Three months later came the storming of the Bastile, followed by French revolution, the story of which has been a thousand times related.
A few months after the decapitation of Louis XVI the city of Toulon, delivered by the royalist party into the hands of the English, was besieged by a French army under Dugommier. Among those who distinguished themselves at this siege was a young lieutenant of artillery whom Dugommier calls Buona Parte, stating that he was of great assistance in rallying the troops and pushing them forward. Two years later Buona Parte, better known as Napoleon Bonaparte was, ordered by the national convention to suppress the revolt of the revolutionary sections, and this accomplished through his historic whiff of grape-shot he was placed in command of the army of Italy, composed of some 20,000 ragged and barefooted veterans. As France had undertaken a general crusade against monarchy, so did Napoleon interpret his powers as a license for universal conquest and rapine. "Soldiers," he said, "you are naked and ill-fed; I will lead you into the most fruitful plains in the world. Rich provinces, great cities will be in your power. There you will find honor and fame and wealth.” He kept his word, carrying out to the letter his maxim that war must support war, and enriching his army by pillage and forced contributions levied with merciless rapacity. For twenty years the history of Europe is little more than a history of the Napoleonic wars, at the end of which the nations were completely drained of their resources, England alone having expended several hundred millions of pounds, while other powers were reduced to the verge of insolvency. Until Europe finally rose against him, every year and almost every month of this war was marked by new aggressions. At Bern in the spring of 1798 treasure was seized to the amount of 40,000,000 francs; almost at the same time the papal government was overthrown; its treasury plundered, and the aged pontiff led into captivity. Thus were furnished the funds for the Egyptian campaign, in which, as he said, "the repulse at St. Jean d’ Acre changed the destiny of the world."
The victories of Marengo, of Austerlitz, Wagram. Jena, and Friedland placed the richest countries of Europe at his feet. Enthroned as emperor in 1804, and in the following year usurping at Milan the iron crown of the Lombards, he distributed kingdoms and principalities among his kinsmen, generals, and politicians, reviving feudal lordships and titles of nobility.
His brothers Joseph and Jerome he made kings of Spain and Westphalia; Berthier became prince of Neufchatel with a revenue of 1,250,000 francs; Davoust, Bernadotte, and others receiving incomes of 500,000 to 750,000 francs, and to more than thirty hereditary dukes from 100,000 to 250,000 francs a year were paid out of the national treasury. To support this wasteful system Europe was laid under contribution, the heaviest burden falling on Austria, whose indemnity after the battle of Wagram was fixed at 75,000,000 francs, while her capital, together with Milan. Mantua, and other Italian cities, were stripped of their choicest works of art. The Russian campaign and the burning of Moscow, compelling his homeward march across 800 leagues of snow-covered plains, without provisions and in the depth of the severest winter known was the real cause of Napoleon's downfall. Of the host which accompanied him, 125,000 men were slain in battle; 130,000 perished of hunger, cold, and disease; nearly 200,000 were taken prisoners, and only 30,000 returned to their native land. The abdication of the emperor in 1814 was followed by a treaty which cancelled his conquests and dismembered his country; while still more disastrous was that of the following year, providing for a further surrender of territory and an indemnity of 700,000,000 francs. Neither in expenditure of life nor treasure can the cost of the Napoleonic wars be estimated, though of both the sacrifice was appalling; Austria alone losing 3,500,000 men, while France was left almost without male population, except boys and old men . In view of the facts it sounds like irony, the words in the will of this wholesale butcher, ever ready to sacrifice his country to his lust of power, yet leaving instructions that his ashes should repose on the banks of the Seine in the midst of the people whom he had loved so well .
Louis XVIII was one of the best as Charles X was one of the worst of the Bourbon monarchs; the former noted for his moderation, ability, and scholarship; the latter for his intolerance, stupidity, and ignorance, a man of whom it has been aptly remarked that "he could never learn and never forget."
After the two days' revolution of 1830, commemorated by the stately column of July, began the reign of Louis Philippe, during which were erected the fortifications of Paris almost as they are today. It was a troublous reign, ended after a long period of contention by the revolution of 1848; for the people felt that Louis had done nothing to relieve the prevailing distress, nothing to redeem his promise that he would rule by the sovereign will of the people, not as king of France but as king of the French.
Notwithstanding the coup d'etat which preceded his election as emperor the accession of Louis Napoleon was hailed with rejoicing by a great majority of the people. Though his wars were frequent, we may well believe that he was sincere in expressing his desire for peace. "The empire menaces no one,” he said, "and desires only to develop its vast resources in tranquility and peace.” Assuredly he did his best for the development of these resources, encouraging industries, sweeping away the barriers that stood in the path of commerce, affording employment to myriads of workmen, and introducing an era of prosperity which contrasted strongly with the misery and want of the regal period. Paris he virtually rebuilt; doubling its area, opening parks and pleasure grounds, converting its narrow and tortuous streets into spacious boulevards, and building new thoroughfares lined with costly and handsome structures. Additional markets, harbors railroads, canals, churches, and theaters were constructed, while those which were already in existence felt the touch of his hand. Museums, colleges, art-galleries, and above all the two great international exhibitions held during his reign attested the progress of the nation in all that contributes to national wealth and well-being. But of the improvements made by Louis Napoleon and by his uncle Bonaparte, I shall have occasion to speak later in connection with Parisian annals.
In 1870, forced into war by the clerical party and probably also by his wife Eugenie, an ambitious woman and always under priestly control, Napoleon III met at Sedan his Waterloo, and a year or two later ended his days at Chislehurst.
A scholar and dreamer rather than a statesman, and surrounded with adventurers from whom he selected his ministers and generals, he brought humiliation and shame on the country whose throne he had usurped, together with loss of territory and the payment of the largest indemnity ever exacted from a vanquished foe. The siege of Paris by the Prussians was closely followed by the outbreak of the commune, with its attendant horrors and atrocities, its wholesale massacre of citizens, and its deliberate system of destruction. The finest and most costly of public buildings were given to the flames by men and women carrying cases of petroleum, and the entire city was threatened with obliteration, when, after many days of street-fighting, the national troops put an end to the reign of terror. From this double disaster it was thought that Paris could not recover, and for several years the assembly met at Versailles, where also were the headquarters of the government; but presently confidence returned, and with it came prosperity and increase of population; the demolished buildings were restored; many new and costly structures were erected, and of the international expositions of 1878 and 1889 there are permanent memorials in the magnificent palace of the Trocadero, and the Eiffel tower, nearly 1,000 feet in height.
Under the third republic France has lived at peace, and that financially at least its affairs have been well managed is shown by the surplus remaining in the treasury at the end of each fiscal year. During the reign of Louis Philippe the deficits in revenue amounted to 520,000,000 francs; the republic shows in 1895 a total surplus of nearly 200,000,000 francs, notwithstanding the payment of an enormous war indemnity and the loss by the people of 1,000,000,000 francs through the failure of the Panama canal project.
Of all the great cities of Europe none had a more lowly origin than Paris, now the greatest and fairest of European capitals, the Mecca of the fashionable world. For centuries it was but a village built on an islet in the Seine by an obscure and feeble tribe known as the Parisii, when after the subjugation of Gaul Cæsar appointed their territory a meeting place for Gallic deputies. Lutetia it was called, and still was known by that name when Constantius Chlorus and Julian the Apostate sojourned for a while on the left bank of the Seine, where were then several buildings, including an imperial palace and an amphitheatre whose foundations, unearthed in 1883, would suggest a population of some 25,000 souls.
It was not until 508 that Paris became the political center of France, King Clovis making it his capital, and among the first acts of his reign erecting as his burial-place the basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul, afterward the abbey of St. Genevieve and now the Pantheon still, a place of worship though formerly used as a memorial temple and mausoleum for eminent men. During the Merovingian dynasty the city was visited by many calamities, conflagration being followed by famine, for the relief of which the church plate was sold by Bishop Landry, the reputed founder of the Hotel-Dieu. By Childebert was founded the basilica of Notre Dame, reconstructed in the twelfth century as a cathedral and many times altered and restored. Though with many structural defects, it is an imposing edifice, 426 feet long by 164 in width, with a central fleche more than 300 feet high, its main facade, surmounted by massive towers, ranking as the architectural masterpiece of the age. Of the sculptures which adorned its recessed portals, those which have survived the ravages of the revolution are among the best of early Gothic designs, as also are the carvings on the principal entranceway representing the day of judgment. Five naves, rich in columnar ornaments, traverse the entire building, and the facades of the transept are richly ornamented with thirteenth century work. The interior is handsomely decorated; but except the choir screen all is modern. During the great revolution most of the sculptures were destroyed and the cathedral suffered many indignities, the commune also leaving its mark on Notre Dame, rifling its treasury and using the building as a military depot.
Under Charlemagne Paris lost for a time its position as the capital of France, until Norman invasions called attention to its importance as a stronghold and strategic center. During the reign of Charles the Fat the city was besieged and its suburbs burned by Norman freebooters, the monarch paying for its ransom a good round sum in gold. In the reign of Hugh Capet it again became the capital, and so remained, increasing in wealth and population with the establishment and growth of institutions which laid the foundations of its greatness. By Philip Augustus, who has been termed the second founder of Paris, was erected on the present site of the Louvre a castle with strong donjon, or keep, converted into a royal mansion by Charles V, though of both structures all traces have long since disappeared. Louis IX, or St. Louis as he is commonly called, rebuilt as his residence the palace of La Cite, among its remaining buildings being the Palais de Justice, whose Greek facade, completed in 1870, is one of the most beautiful conceptions of modern art. Near it is the Sainte Chapelle, already mentioned, erected as is said for the reception of the crown of thorns, its stained glass windows of thirteenth century date being among the finest specimens of church decoration.
The Bastile, originally intended only for the protection of the St. Antoine gate, was built by Charles V, to whom the National library owes the nucleus of its present collection of 3,500,000 volumes and 160,000 manuscripts, the first printing press being erected nearly a century later in the reign of Louis XI. The palace of the Louvre was founded by Francis I in the style of the French renaissance, of which indeed it was the earliest specimen. The work was continued by Catherine de Medici, Henry IV, and Louis XIII, Catherine also laying the foundations of the Chateau des Tuileries; but these structures belong for the most part to a more modern date. Both are rich in historic incidents, and it was in one of the chambers of the Louvre that Charles IX signed the order for the massacre of St. Bartholomew. Though several of the monarchs held court in Orleans and other cities, Paris continued to increase both in political and commercial importance. Says one of the leading chroniclers of his age, writing about the year 1560, "Paris is one of the most famous capitals in the world, as well for the splendor of its parliament as for its institutions of learning, besides the mechanic arts and the marvelous traffic which have made it very populous and rich.” At this era were erected the first of the great mansions or hotels for which the city is famous, communication between the banks of the Seine being improved by the building of the Pont Neuf, now the oldest of the Parisian bridges though still bearing its original name. Especially on the right bank of the river was the influx of citizens felt, outlying villages being converted into suburbs and enclosed within bastioned walls.
By Marie de Medici, widow of Henry IV, was built the palace of the Luxembourg, which adorned and enlarged by Napoleon and Louis Philippe was used as the senate chamber. In the Salle du Trone are many large pictures relating to the career of Bonaparte, and in the Musee is a collection of the works of living artists. The gardens, though greatly reduced in extent to make way for modern improvements, are handsomely adorned with fountains, flowerbeds, columns, and statuary in marble and bronze. Forming a portion of the group are the Theatre de I’Odeon and the observatory, through the center of which runs the first meridian of Paris. During the revolution, when many of the finest works of art were destroyed, the palace was converted into a prison, furnishing its daily quota of victims for the guillotine, while in the gardens were fair and fashionable women, many of them disguised as beggars, awaiting their chance to give or receive some furtive token of affection.
The Palais Royal, originally intended as the mansion of Richelieu and styled the Palais Cardinal, had many changes of name and occupants before its destruction by the commune and its later restoration. Here lived Anne of Austria, whose grandson, Philip of Orleans, held brutal orgies in the company of women without virtue and men without a name, Philippe Egalite imitating his grandsire in debauchery and riotous living. After being used by Napoleon for the meetings of the Tribunate, it passed into the possession of Louis Philippe, who gave there a magnificent ball almost on the eve of the revolution of 1830. The building is of historic rather than of artistic value, except perhaps for the Galerie d’ Orleans, a spacious arcade paved with marble and roofed with glass. The ground floors of most of the buildings are used as jewelers or other shops, and the garden which they enclose is hardly deserving of the name.
By Richelieu was also rebuilt the church of Sorbonne, and from this period dates the origin of the Place Royal, now the Place des Vosges, and the Jardin des Plantes with its zoological and botanical gardens, its museums of natural history and science, its library, laboratories, and lectures by the foremost of Parisian professors.
To Louis XIV and the two Napoleons are mainly due the splendor of modern Paris, and of the principal monuments erected by each, as well as those of a later date, a brief description is here in place. In addition to the imposing structures reared by the grand monarque, wealthy citizens, as Voltaire relates, built a thousand splendid edifices; so that as seen from the Palais Royal two new cities had sprung into being each finer than the one before in existence. But if Louis XIV added much to the appearance of the capital, Louis Napoleon was its Augustus, completing the transformation begun toward the close of the monarchy, reconstructing, as I have said, several of the quarters, and building or enlarging and decorating many of the palaces and temples of worship, industry, and art, many of the spacious boulevards interspersed with parks and pleasure-grounds which are the pride of the Parisians and the delight of those who come from afar to sojourn in this home of art. Such improvements could not be accomplished without the destruction of many buildings of historic interest, even mediæval churches and monasteries being cleared away to secure uniformity of plan; but while Napoleon has been accused of vandalism, it is not by the citizens themselves, who think more of present comfort and profit than of all the architectural monuments of the past.
The Louvre ranks first among the public buildings of Paris, not only as an architectural composition, but for its galleries of art, the finest in Paris and probably the finest in the world. In 1805 the entire group of buildings was restored by Napoleon I, who also opened a portion of the Rue de Rivoli and began the connecting wing between the Louvre and the Tuilcries, completed by Louis Napoleon at a cost of 75,000,000 francs. As now it stands, the palace is in the form of a quadrangle enclosing a court nearly 400 feet square, its eastern facade, 550 feet in length, with its handsome colonnade of Corinthian pillars, being completed in 1665 by Claude Perrault. As reminiscences of mediæval towers are pavilions in the centers and on the corners of the facades, the one on the western face leading into the square formerly known as the Place Napoleon, where are statues of eminent Frenchmen.
Adjoining the courtyard of the Tuileries is the Place du Carrousel with its Arc de Triomphe erected by the first emperor in imitation of the arch of Severus at Rome. The buildings fronting on the Seine, connected with the quadrangle by the pavilion of Henry IV, are in more ancient and elegant style than those which face the Rue de Rivoli, though the additions made by the Napoleons, with their showy fronts, Corinthian half columns, colossal statues, and allegorical sculptures, were intended to harmonize with the older portions.
The Louvre collections date from the time of the French renaissance. Francis I was one of its founders, and in the reign of Louis XIV there were many valuable contributions; for then it first became the fashion among wealthy families to gather works of art. During the revolution the contents of royal palaces were transferred to the Louvre galleries, while the victorious armies of Bonaparte returned from their campaigns laden with the masterpieces of Italian and German art. Though on the conclusion of peace many of them were restored to their owners, there yet remain many large and valuable pieces. In the time of the commune the Imperial library with its 90,000 volumes and its precious manuscripts was destroyed, and the palace itself with its priceless treasures narrowly escaped obliteration.
Among the collections of ancient and medieval sculptures are the Venus of Milo the Minerva of Velletri, the Lycian Apollo, the Mars of the Borghese collection, Apollo and Marsyas, Antinous surrounded by Roman emperors, and a fragment of the Parthenon frieze, with works by Michael Angelo, Germain Pilou and others, special chambers being devoted to Jewish antiquities and Christian monuments. The best of modern sculptures are the portrait busts of Coyzevox and the marble statues of Chaudet, Bosio, and Canova. In the picture galleries, more than half a mile in length, all the great schools of painting are represented by masterpieces.
In the Italian section are many of the works of Raphael, Titian, Perugino, Leonardo da Vinci , and Correggio; in Flemish art are Rubens scenes from the life of Marie de Medici, still showing their richness of coloring and lifelike vigor of composition; of the Dutch masters Rembrandt is best represented, and of German artists there are Holbein, Albert Durer and Van Dyck. Spain has here some of the best canvases of Murillo and Velasquez, and in the French galleries may be studied the choicest treasures of several centuries.
On the ceiling of the Apollo gallery, the architectural gem of the Louvre, is the painting by Delacroix of Apollo's Victory over the Python, from which it takes its name. Though both on walls and ceilings are many works of art, it is noted rather for its collection of royal gems and jewelry, with specimens of goldsmith’s work, enamels, and articles of faience. There are vases of crystal and precious stones, of sardonyx, jasper, and lapis lazuli; there is the jeweled casket of Anne of Austria, the crown of Louis XV, and the crown worn by Napoleon I at his coronation, near which are equestrian statuettes in enameled silver and basalt; there are the regalia of Bourbon and other monarchs, the sword and scepter of Charlemagne, and the signet ring of Louis the Saint. In glass cases are many beautiful specimens of art manufacture, and in book-bindings is a twelfth century production, silver-gilt and adorned with jewels and intaglio figures. Of enamels there are the mirror and candlestick of Marie de Medici, the breviary of Catherine de Medici, and many articles from the Sauvageot collection, one of them a basin in the center of which is a large cameo of Ferdinand III, surrounded with concentric rings of cameos portraying the features and armorial bearings of the princes of the house of Austria. In the Salle des Bijoux adjoining are curious ornaments and trinkets, from golden crowns to golden hairpins, and of ancient or medieval date. There are rings and earrings of Greek and Roman workmanship; there is the gold signet ring of one of the Ptolemies; there is an Etruscan helmet, a horned head and other representations of Bacchus, with golden and jeweled necklaces, bracelets, pendants, amulets, and trinkets sufficient to bedeck a score of titled dames.
The Egyptian museum contains by far the most valuable collection of its kind, and nowhere else can be studied to such advantage the arts and customs of the most ancient people in the world. In the Assyrian museum is a part of the remains exhumed by Layard and Botta, showing fragments of stately palaces, with the king surrounded by his court and with hunting scenes and scenes of the battle and the siege. In other chambers are collections of Greek antiquities, of Etruscan vases, and of ancient and medieval bronzes, porcelains, and carvings.
The gallery of drawings is second only to that of the Uffizi palace in Florence, and among its 40,000 or 50,000 specimens are the works of many of the great masters. Nor should we forget the naval and ethnographic museums, and the Davilliers and Lonoir collections, the former consisting of costly furniture and tapestries and the latter chiefly of jewelry, precious stones, and miniatures.
Among other museums and galleries the Palais des Beaux Arts, with its school for instruction in the fine and decorative arts, contains many valuable treasures; but its principal use is for educational purposes, the prize-winners completing their education in Rome at the expense of the government. The Musee de Cluny et des Thermes, the former founded by Benedictine abbots and the latter by the emperor Constantius Chlorus, has a large collection of Roman and Gallic antiquities and of mediæval specimens of art and artistic handicraft. Here are sculptures in marble and alabaster, carvings in ivory and wood, paintings, enamels, bronzes, and the richest of furniture, tapestries, and jewelry. Worthy of special mention are a gold altar-piece belonging to the eleventh century and a massive golden girdle with bracelets, rings, and trinkets belonging to the Gallo-Roman period. In the Carnavalet museum, the former mansion of Madame de Sevigne, is gathered much that is of interest relating to the history of Paris and in the Musee, historique at the palace of Versailles, the mere founding of which cost 15,000,000 francs, history is represented by paintings gathered from the Louvre and other palaces, with additions by modern artists.
The palace of the Tuileries, so called because its site was once used for the making of tuiles, or tiles, was founded, as I have said, by Catherine de Medici, though not completed in its earliest form until many years later. While the sovereigns of France resided here at intervals, it was first used as a permanent residence by Bonaparte, afterward becoming the official headquarters of the ruling monarch.
As an architectural composition it was of no special interest; but among all the great structures of Paris there are none so rich in historic associations. In the first revolution, when surrendered by the Swiss guards at the bidding of the king, its treasures were stolen, its furniture wrecked, and of the palace itself not one stone was left standing upon another. In the revolution of 1848 it was a second time pillaged and wrecked, and there again monarchy met its deathblow, Louis Philippe abandoning his palace to a raging mob in the hope of allaying their fury and preserving the throne for his grandson, the count of Paris. Finally the Tuileries was one of the first edifices selected for destruction by the commune, petroleum and barrels of gunpowder being placed in readiness for their infernal plan, which included many of the finest buildings in the capital, both public and private. As the national troops were forcing an entrance into the city, the torch was applied to it at several points, and a few hours later, except the Flora pavilion and the connecting galleries, only a heap of smoldering ruins remained. Apart from sculptural embellishments, the Jardin des Tuileries remains almost as it was when first laid out in the reign of Louis XIV. In the Allee des Orangers, rows of orange trees diffuse their fragrance over the site where in the reign of terror a patch of potatoes was planted.
The Palais d' Elysees, the former residence of Madame de Pompadour, was converted during the first revolution into a government printing office, and under the directory was rented to keepers of gaming tables. After being enlarged and improved it was occupied by Napoleon III, and later by the presidents of the republic. The Champs Elysees in its proper sense is now but a miniature par, yielding much of its space to the Palais de l’ Industrie, where in 1855 was held the first international exposition, and where now are held the Salon exhibitions of painting and sculpture. Its name is applied, however, to one of the finest avenues in Paris, lined with handsome buildings and extending from the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe de l' Etoile.
The Place was first named after Louis XV, to whom, after the Austrian war of succession, a bronze equestrian statue was erected on what was then waste ground. After the destruction of the Tuileries by a revolutionary mob, this monument was melted down and converted into two sous pieces, a terracotta figure of the goddess of liberty taking its place. Here the guillotine continued its bloody work with the execution of Louis XVI, after whom fell beneath its stroke nearly 3,000 victims. The chief attraction of the plaza is the obelisk of Luxor presented by Mohammed, a famous but somewhat expensive monument, its removal and erection costing 2,000,000 francs. Another feature is the fountains and statuary, the figures representing the principal cities and industries of France, while along the enclosing balustrades are rostral columns serving as candelabra. The great triumphal arch of l’ Etoile, designed to commemorate the victories of Bonaparte, was completed by Louis Philippe from designs approved by the emperor, its cost exceeding 10,000,000 francs. Among the subjects sculptured on its face is one of the masterpieces of Rude, the Marseillaise. In honor of his grand army Napoleon ordered the unfinished church of the Madeleine to be converted into a temple of Glory; but this was not completed until 1842 after an outlay of more than 13,000,000 francs, its plans being unaltered though still used as a place of worship, the statues of many saints occupying the niches of its massive Corinthian colonnade.
The Hotel des Invalides is one of the most conspicuous buildings in Paris, the dome of its church rising 340 feet from the pavement to the summit of its cross. Beneath it is the tomb of Napoleon I, circular crypt with walls of polished granite adorned with marble reliefs, between which are grouped as trophies the flags of conquered nations. On a mosaic pavement resembling a wreath of laurels and inscribed with the names of many victories, rests the sarcophagus of the great general, a single block of sandstone weighing nearly 70 tons. The main building, covering with its spacious plaza more than 30 acres, was founded by Louis XIV for the reception of soldiers disabled by wounds or retired after a long term of service. Most of the rooms are now used for other purposes, including a library of 40,000 volumes, and the so-called Artillery museum, with an ethnographic gallery and specimens of ancient and modern weapons.
The grand boulevards, extending for three miles in unbroken line from the Madeleine to the Bastille, are the finest, as well as the busiest and most fashionable quarter, containing the more showy cafes, shops, and theaters. In the heart of business are such buildings as the bank of France, and the Bourse, with its allegorical statues and ambitious design, the peristyle representing Vespasian’s temple in the Roman forum. These and adjacent thoroughfares are traversed daily by 30,000 vehicles, and at night are brilliantly lighted, while the shade trees which line them are carefully preserved, those which are killed by gas being replaced by full-grown substitutes transplanted at great expense. In the Place des Vosges is a marble equestrian statue of Louis XIII, and in the square where ends the Boulevard du Temple is a fountain adorned with spouting lions, its basin 100 feet in diameter. The Porte St. Martin in the boulevard of that name is in the shape of a triumphal arch, 57 feet in height and length, reliefs and inscriptions commemorating the victories of Louis XIV in whose honor it was founded. For the same purpose was erected the triumphal arch of St. Denis, a loftier structure and adorned with obelisks covered with military trophies in relief. The Boulevard des Italiens is one of the most crowded of Parisian avenues; for in this vicinity are the quarters of several clubs, many fashionable shops, and some of the best hotels and cafes.
Nearby is the Place de l' Opera, on the northern side of which is the Grand opera house, one of several streets converging in this thronged quarter leading to the Place du Theatre Francais.
The Grand opera house is one of the most elaborate and costly buildings in the world, 50,000.000 francs being expended on its construction, which lasted for many years. It was delayed from many causes. The corner stone was laid in July, 1862, and the work of pumping out the water before the foundations could be laid was a twelvemonths task. During the Franco-Prussian war the still unfinished building was used as a hospital, a storehouse, and a signal post, suffering heavy damage in the time of the commune; so that it was not until 1874 that its doors were opened to the public. For materials all Europe was laid under contribution. Italy sending her white and yellow marbles, Finland her porphyry, and Scotland and Sweden the most beautiful of their colored granites, France contributing also the choicest of her building-stones. The design, selected from 1 70 competitive drawings, is by Charles Gamier, afterward one of the most famous of Parisian architects.
At the entranceways are marble groups symbolic of tragedy, poetry, music, and the dance. Behind the circular dome which surmounts the auditorium is a lofty pediment rising from the stage, adorned with colossal gilded groups, and on its summit the Apollo of Millet, with lyre raised aloft toward the sky, forming the culminating point of the composition. From a spacious vestibule the visitor ascends the grand staircase and thence passes into a magnificent foyer, both of them remarkable for wealth of coloring and beauty of design and decorations. Of finished workmanship are the allegorical figures of comedy and tragedy, the panel paintings above the doors, where in the hands of children are the musical instruments of various nations, while on the ceilings are several of the masterpieces of Paul Baudry, the effect of which is somewhat marred by excess of light. Though seemingly dwarfed by their spacious approaches, the auditorium and stage are the largest in Europe, the latter 180 feet in length and 75 in depth, metal being almost entirely used in its complex machinery and equipments. On the upper floors are the library and archives, with a store of precious manuscripts accumulated during the two centuries or more for which Paris has been the home of opera.
The Theatre Francais, or Comedie Francaise as it is otherwise termed, is not an imposing edifice, though in its truest sense it is the temple of dramatic art. In its Doric vestibule is a statue of Talma, near which are figures of comedy and tragedy with the features of Mars and Rachel, and a relief representing a group of comedians crowning the form of Moliere, for many years its superintendent. The theater has a subvention of 240,000 francs, and to the Opera Comique and Odeon, the latter devoted to classical drama, are granted smaller amounts.
In the center of the Place Vendome is the column of that name, first erected by Napoleon I to commemorate the victory of Austerlitz, 1,200 Austrian and Russian cannon being melted down to furnish the original materials, now replaced by masonry covered with plates of bronze. Its design is in imitation of Trajan’s column at Rome, and on the summit is a statue of the emperor, a spiral hand representing scenes in the great campaign with which culminated the glory of the first empire. Nearby is the Place des Victoires, so named from the pyramid erected in 1792 to commemorate the victories of the republic.
It was replaced by a statue of Desaix, one of the heroes of Marengo, and this again by an equestrian statue of Louis XIV in the garb of a Roman general. The Bois de Boulogne, intersected with walks and drives, is a favorite resort of Parisians, the havoc wrought by Prussian vandalism during the siege of Paris being almost entirely repaired. Extending almost to the bank of the Seine is the hippodrome of Longchamps, the principal racecourse of Paris. The Jardin d’ Acclimation, covering some 50 acres, was established for the purpose of introducing plants and animals suitable for domestication, and contains many strange specimens of beasts, birds and fish. Here children may ride on the backs of camels or elephants, or drive in carriages to which zebras or ostriches are yoked. The Rue de Rivoli, for the completion of which 300 buildings were demolished during the second empire, is one of the finest thoroughfares in Paris; and among other spacious avenues constructed by Napoleon III is the Boulevard de Sebastopol. In a small garden at their point of intersection is the tower of St. Jacques, a handsome Gothic structure 175 feet in height, restored as a relic of a sixteenth century church at a cost of 1,000,000 francs.
Of all the havoc wrought by the commune none is more to be regretted than the destruction of the Hotel de Ville, one of the finest buildings in Paris and rich in historic memories. While the loss in money was enormous, the loss in works of art and in public documents was irreparable. Founded in 1533, it was not completed until nearly a century afterward, and there were many later additions and improvements, Napoleon III relieving it of its squalid environment and building as an adjunct the caserne which bears his name. The reception and ball rooms with their magnificent decorations were the pride of the pleasure-loving metropolis; yet the structure reared on its site in the historic Place de l' Hotel de Ville is on a still more magnificent scale.
Of more than a score of cemeteries, that of Pere La Chaise, so named after the Jesuit confessor, is the largest and most interesting. Since it was first opened in 1804 more than 200,000,000 francs have been expended on its 20,000 monuments, among them those of Abelard and Heloise, of the duke of Placenza, minister of Napoleon I, of General Domon, Victor Perrin, Rossini, Beranger, Alfred de Musset, Casimir Perier, premier under Louis Philippe, and many others of historic fame.
A more ancient burial-ground is the cemetery of Montmartre, where in the middle of the twelfth century Louis VI founded a Benedictine abbey of which portions are still in existence.
For a distance of seven miles the Seine flows between almost continuous lines of buildings, and is widest at the island now called La Cite, the oldest portion of the capital. At this point is the Pont Neuf, with its equestrian statue of Henry IV, the people's king. Except the Pont des Arts, and one or two others intended only for foot-passengers, all the bridges are filled almost from dawn till dusk with an endless procession of vehicles. Many bear the names of famous victories, as the Pont d' Alma, built at a cost of 1,200,000 francs, and the bridges of Austerlitz, Jena, Arcola, and Solferino; others being named after monarchs or incidents, as those of Marie and Louis Philippe, la Concorde, and le Carrousel. Paris derives its water-supply from several sources and through more than 100,000 miles of pipes. On an average 2,500,000 cubic feet of water are taken from the Seine by powerful steam-pumps, the Marne and the Ourcq canal, with artesian wells and springs increasing the total supply to 25,000,000 gallons. Of gas mains, there are about 1,500 miles, the consumption in winter exceeding 1,200,000,000 feet a month. The drainage system is the best in Europe, and to this is largely due a decrease in the rate of deaths through natural causes from 36 to 23 per thousand since the time of the first revolution.
The chateau of St. Germain with its adjacent Chateau Neuf, of which only the pavilion of Henry IV remains, was a favorite summer resort of royalty, the present structure dating from the time of Francis I. In its Gallo-Roman museum are antiquities extending from the Paleolithic period almost to the middle ages. In one of the balconies are a Gallic chieftain and a Roman knight in bronze; in glass cases are the weapons vessels and idols of barbarous nations, and in the donjon, jewels statuettes and standards, with a chased silver vase unearthed near the town of Alise, the Alesia of Julius Caesar, whose conquests and conquered races are illustrated in graphic art.
Its beautiful terrace and forest are the principal attraction of St. Germain, near which is the town of Marly, once famed for its ponderous waterworks, including 220 pumps and 14 huge wheels, each 40 feet in diameter, erected at a cost of 4,000,000 francs when hydraulic science was little understood.
The chateau of St. Cloud was rebuilt by Louis XIV on the site of a palace erected by a wealthy citizen toward the close of the sixteenth century. In one of its chambers the council of Five Hundred held its sessions until dispersed by the grenadiers of Bonaparte, who a few days later was proclaimed first consul. Here was the favorite summer residence of both the Napoleons, and here the headquarters of Blucher when, on the 3rd of July 1815, was signed the second capitulation of Paris. During the Franco-Prussian war the chateau, the adjacent barracks, and most of the houses in its neighborhood were destroyed from strategic considerations, none of the environs of Paris suffering so severely during its siege. The park and gardens of St. Cloud are handsomely adorned with fountains and statuary; not far distant is the town of Sevres, famous for its porcelain factories.
From a medieval fortress, erected probably by Louis VII, the chateau of Fontainebleau was converted by Francis I into a magnificent palace, later enlarged by Henry IV, and with interior decorations by French and Italian artists of the time of Francis and Henry II.
It was one of the favorite residences of Napoleon I, who there took leave of his old guard after his abdication in 1814, and returning from Elba reviewed them before marching on Paris. Still in the suite which bears his name is the costly furniture brought for his use from the Petit Trianon, decorated by Marie Antoinette, whose boudoir and bedroom with those of Catherine de Medici and Anne of Austria are among the apartments of the palace. Remarkably handsome is the ceiling of the throne-room, with its chandelier of rock crystal, and that of the Chapelle de la Trinite, where Louis XV was married and Napoleon III was baptized. In the richly decorated galleries of Diana, Henry II, and Francis I are frescos and paintings of mythical and allegorical subjects, separated by bas reliefs and medallions, the first having also a library and collection of curiosities. Finally, in the salons de Reception are the finest of Gobelins and Flemish tapestries, with historic pictures and statues, and richly decorated chimney-pieces, especially that of Francis I. The gardens and courts are profusely decorated with statuary, and beyond is the magnificent forest of Fontainebleau, more than 42,000 acres in extent, and with numerous pathways leading through picturesque gorges and beautiful woodland effects. The town of Beauvais has, among many historic edifices, a Gothic cathedral begun in 1225 and still incomplete, its stained-glass windows being among the choicest specimens of ecclesiastical art.
The forest of Compiegne, covering 36,000 acres is intersected with hundreds of roads, a railway passing through it in the direction of Pierrefonds, where is a feudal castle erected in the fourteenth century by Louis of Orleans. The palace of Compiegne, with its double colonnade, belongs to the reign of Louis XV, and contains a museum of Cambodian antiquities in which are figures of Buddha, an elephant decorated with bells and jewelry, and statues of lions, giants, dancing women, and divinities of the dance. In the apartments of the chateau are many things that remind us of the first empire, their costly furniture, tapestries, vases, paintings, and statuary recalling the lime when France levied tribute on the art productions of Europe. The hotel de ville, of sixteenth century architecture, has a museum of paintings and sculptures, and the town itself is of historic interest, for here was the favorite residence of many sovereigns.
Parisian hotels are among the best in the world, the largest occupying entire blocks and containing from 600 to 1,000 rooms.
Except in the Faubourg St. Germain, the ground floors of nearly all the buildings in the heart of Paris are occupied as shops, many of them stocked with tempting wares graded as to cost according to nationality of visitors, and always high-priced to those who speak not the language of the salesman. Paris is the manufacturing center of France, and especially for jewelry, gold and silverware, and the finer descriptions of textile fabrics. At the famous Gobelins factory, destroyed by the commune with many of the choicest tapestries reserved for monarchs and persons of rank and wealth, work is still conducted on a minor scale. Several years are required for the execution of the larger designs, representing works of art, especially in flowers and fruits. When completed they sell readily for 50,000 francs or more, their brightness of coloring and delicacy of shading contrasting sharply with the faded and inferior textures which pass under the name of Gobelins.
Some twenty-five leagues south of Paris is the city of Orleans, formerly the capital of a separate kingdom, and rich in historic memories from the time when Clovis held at the beginning of the sixth century the first general council assembled in France. In the Place du Martroi, where is the heart of the city, stands the famous equestrian statue of Joan of Arc, its granite pedestal reproducing in bas-reliefs the leading incidents of her life. From this place an avenue named after the maid of Orleans leads to the cathedral of Ste Croix founded in 1287, and still unfinished when nearly 300 years later it was destroyed by the Huguenots. Of the present structure, not even yet completed, the first stone was laid in 1601, the main facade, erected in the eighteenth century, showing all the defects of that era of architectural degradation. The spire, 330 feet high, is of modern date, and the apse and choir chapels are fine specimens of renaissance workmanship. There are several churches, one of them said to have been founded by a son of Constantine the Great, and among the more prominent buildings is the hotel de ville, the residence of kings and queens from the reign of Francis II to that of Henry IV.
In the public library are manuscripts dating from the seventh century, and in the historical museum is a valuable collection of ancient vases and works, with banners, tapestries, of art relating to the heroine who delivered the city from its beleaguering host.
Proceeding south-westward along the right bank of the Loire we come to the town of Blois, the birthplace of Louis XII and the seat of a bishopric since the days of Louis XIV. First mentioned by Gregory of Tours in the sixth century, it later played a prominent part in the annals of France, and it was here that the duke of Guise was assassinated by order of Henry III. The chateau where Louis was born, a massive specimen of mediæval architecture, is the most remarkable among the many structures of antiquarian interest, interspersed with others of modern date, forming together an amphitheater built on a steep hillside and threaded with stairways rather than streets. A few miles east of Blois is the chateau de Chambord, a splendid Gothic edifice, founded by Francis I, completed by Louis XIV, and occupied in succession by Dian of Poitiers, Stanislaus king of Poland and marshals Saxe and Berthier. Above its black stone walls arise stately towers and minarets, and around it is a park surrounded with walls more than twenty miles in circuit.
Chartres is noted for its cathedral of Notre Dame, founded in the eleventh century on the site of a still earlier sanctuary, and after being destroyed by conflagration, rebuilt on its present scale, though with minor additions and alterations. There are two lofty spires differing in design, and the stained-glass windows are among the finest specimens of medieval art. Tours, on the left bank of the Loire, situated amid the garden of France and surrounded with historic chateaus, is a favorite residence of the wealthy, on account of its beauty, the mildness of its climate and its institutions of learning, science, and art. Tours, a city of monuments both ancient and modern, was known to the Romans as Caesarodunum, though occupying a site on the opposite bank of the river. Captured by the Visigoths, it became a part of the Prankish kingdom under Clovis, who presented to its church of St. Martin, the apostle of the Gauls, a portion of the rich spoils which fell to him on the defeat of Alaric. Though more than once pillaged by the Normans, the town was commended by a thirteenth century analyst for the prosperity of its inhabitants and the beauty and chastity of its women. Of many sanctuaries the finest is the cathedral, built on the ruins of churches reared successively by Gregory of Tours and Archbishop Hildevert.
While erected at intervals extending over nearly 400 years, it is remarkable for unity and regularity of design, its beautiful stained-glass and woodwork contributing greatly to the effect. A striking monument is the tower of Charlemagne, and worthy of note is the Port de l’ Archveche in the archiepiscopal palace. A few leagues from Tours is the town of Amboise with its ancient castle where was the residence of the earlier kings. The cathedral of Bourges is one of the finest in France, its earlier portions belonging to the thirteenth century. Among many specimens of medieval architecture is the chateau of Charles VII the town itself being surrounded by ancient ramparts laid out as promenades.
In population and in commercial and industrial importance Lyons is the second city in France; a city noted also for its churches and institutions of learning and charity. Most famous of all is the cathedral of Notre Dame de Fourvieres, so called from the forum vetus or ancient forum which occupied its site. Founded in the ninth century as a chapel dedicated to the virgin, it was several times enlarged and restored, the present edifice belonging to various dates and including a modern church erected in 1872. The tower, more than 70 feet in height is crowned with a colossal statue of the virgin in gilded bronze, inscriptions on the pedestal ascribing to her deliverance from epidemics of plague and cholera. The hotel de ville is one of the finest of the secular buildings, which include many costly and pretentious structures. The principal museum is rich in Gallo-Roman antiquities, among them a speech of the emperor Claudian preserved on tablets of bronze, while in the numismatic collection are 30,000 coins, forming a complete series for a thousand years ending with 1857. There are also museums of natural history, of art and industry, and in the two largest libraries are 250,000 volumes with many hundreds of manuscripts. Next to Paris, Lyons is the greatest manufacturing city, its silk goods alone being valued at 450,000,000,000 francs a year and affording employment to 160,000 operatives. Villefranche, a few leagues to the north, is also a manufacturing town, its cathedral of Notre Dame des Marais belonging to the medieval and renaissance periods. At Clermont, the curiously decorated church of Notre Dame du Port belongs in part to the ninth century, and a thirteenth century cathedral ranks as one of the finest specimens of Gothic architecture.
Marseilles, the Massalia of the Greeks, by whom it was founded about 600 BC, has been from time immemorial the principal seaport on the Mediterranean, with a present shipping trade amounting to 4,000,000 tons, and with many miles of docks and quays on which is warehouse room for 250,000 tons of merchandise. The old harbor, opening on the gulf of Lyons, is protected by the forts of St. Jean and St. Nicholas, and beyond the outer harbor is the chateau d' If of Monte Christo fame. The canal de Marseille, nearly 100 miles in length, crosses the adjacent valley by way of the great aqueduct of Roquefavour, one of the most remarkable works of ancient or modern times . Though nearly twenty-five centuries old, Marseilles has no antiquities, its growth as a commercial and manufacturing city forbidding the preservation of ancient monuments. A modern cathedral in the form of a Latin cross occupies, as is said the site of an altar of Baal, which gave place to a temple of Diana, and this again to a cathedral superseded by the present edifice.
Of richest materials is the chapel of Notre Dame de la Garde, with its gilded statue of the virgin thirty feet in height, while almost in the center of the old town the church of Notre Dame du Mont Carmel stands on the spot where the citadel of the Massaliots was besieged by Julius Caesar. The hotel de la prefecture is a palatial structure, 300 feet in length and richly ornamented with statuary, paintings, and bas-reliefs; the chamber of commerce is noted for its handsome gildings and mural decorations, and the Palais des arts de Longchamps, for its museum of natural history and its choice collection of medieval and recent masterpieces.
Toulon, whose naval arsenal, now one of the largest in the world, was founded by Henry IV and enlarged and fortified by Richelieu and Vauban, is famous for the siege where Bonaparte first appeared upon the scene and later organized his Egyptian campaign. Except in the new quarter, erected during the second empire, its streets are narrow, tortuous, and squalid, while aside from its cathedral of St. Marie Majeure, there are no buildings worthy of note, Cannes, since its beautiful site and health-giving climate first attracted the attention of Lord Brougham, has become a favorite winter residence, especially for English visitors. Its suburbs are studded with handsome villas; its beach is flanked by a spacious promenade, and in the neighborhood are many orchards and olive groves. It was here that Napoleon landed after his banishment to Elba, in keeping with his promise "to return with the violets.” In the adjacent island of St. Marguerite is the citadel where the Man with the Iron Mask was imprisoned and whence Marshal Bazaine escaped in 1874. Nice, founded more than 2,000 years ago by the Massalian Greeks, was many times pillaged before finally becoming a portion of the French possessions. Back of the town, a steep hill which forms its historic nucleus, and where stood one of the strongest fortresses of the middle ages, is laid out in pleasure-grounds where still stands a fifth century tower. Nice has been for many centuries a pleasure and health resort, its theaters, library, museum, crystal palace, and municipal and other casinos affording pastime to visitors who pass there a winter in which frosts are rare and snow almost unknown. Grasse, with its narrow winding streets picturesquely situated on a terraced hill-slope overlooking the Mediterranean, is also noted for the healing qualities of its climate. Still in existence are its ancient Gothic cathedral and an eleventh century chapel now used as a powder magazine. The town is well supplied with markets; in the manufacture of perfumery it ranks next to Paris, and in its neighborhood are many citrus groves, with valuable quarries of marble jasper and alabaster.
Grenoble is noted for its cathedral of Notre Dame, founded by Charlemagne, and for its church of St. Laurence, built as tradition relates on the site of a temple of Aesculapius. There are many educational and scientific institutions, the library containing about 200,000 volumes collected by the municipality at a cost of more than 2,000,000 francs.
In 1219 the town was almost destroyed by flood, and since that date there have been many similar disasters. From its botanical gardens can be distinctly seen the Savoy Alps and the summit of Mont Blanc, beyond which is the village of Chamouni, little more than a cluster of hotels for the accommodation of Alpine tourists.
Aries, the Arelate of Caesars’ time, became under the later Roman empire one of the most prosperous towns in transalpine Gaul, especially in the days of Constantine, by whom it was enlarged and embellished, for this was his favorite residence. Among its most imposing ruins are those of a large amphitheater, afterward converted into a Saracen fortress, with massive towers, two of which still remain. The modern town is well constructed, with spacious streets and quays, its public edifices including a cathedral founded in the seventh century and a town-hall built in the reign of Louis XIV. Nismes is also famous for its amphitheater and hanging gardens, the latter a beautiful specimen of landscape art. From the summit of a precipitous hill in the walled town of Avignon rises the twelfth century cathedral of Notre Dame des Doms, whence the magnificent palace of the popes extends in somber grandeur along its southern face. Here was held the papal court from the days of Clement V until, in 1377, Gregory XI again made Rome the headquarters of the papacy. Of the ancient fortifications of Montpellier there are few remains except the gate of Peyrou in the form of a triumphal arch at the entrance to one of the finest squares in France. The cathedral has recently been restored in the style of thirteenth century architecture; the museum has valuable art and antiquarian collections, and the botanical gardens are among the oldest in Europe.
Toulouse contains in its church of St. Sernin the largest and one of the oldest ecclesiastical structures in southern France, 375 feet in length and 220 in breadth. The crypts, where still are many relics, were plundered by revolutionary vandals of their gold and silver shrines; in the southern transept are the tombs of the earlier counts of Toulouse, and over the southern gate the ascension is finely represented in Byzantine sculpture. A less ancient edifice is the cathedral of St. Stephen, its seventeen choir chapels richly, adorned with stained glass, while over the battered western gate, once profusely decorated with statuary, is a beautiful rose-window of thirteenth century workmanship. Among the secular buildings are many costly mansions of the renaissance period; the university ranks second only to that of Paris, and no city is better supplied with institutions of learning science, and art. A drawback to Toulouse as a commercial emporium is its liability to floods, the great inundation of 1875 covering an entire faubourg and destroying 7,000 houses. Here was fought in 1814 the last battle of the Peninsular war, the siege of Bayonne, where is one of the strongest of Vauban's fortresses being interrupted by the news of Napoleon's abdication.
Next to London and Paris ranked in her palmy days the noble city of Bordeaux, whose crescent was studded with minarets and towers while in her harbor was a crowded forest of masts and swarms of smaller craft. Her merchants were princes; her warehouses were filled with costly goods from every clime; her smelters and welders were famous for their work in steel, finely tempered for sword and lance; and when war was raging in southern France it was a gala time for Bordeaux. Royal were the feasts and entertainments given in the days when the city was the seat of the brilliant court of the Black Prince. On costly plate were served roasted peacocks with spread tails and feathers as in life; boars head with gilded tusks and mouth lined with silver foil; the twelve apostles fashioned in jelly; great castles of pastry and many other wonderful dishes suited to the vigorous appetites of medieval Gaul and Briton.
Of modern Bordeaux the commerce is very considerable, especially its wine trade, which forms one-third of the total exports and imports valued at $100,000,000 a year. Ship building is a prominent industry, and of manufactures there is a moderate amount. In the business buildings of the city, and in its consular residences are represented a hundred nationalities: the newer quarters are filled with stately mansions and public buildings flanking spacious and well-paved avenues, and the principal square is adorned with statues, among them those of Montesqieu and Montaigne. The cathedral of Saint Andre is an imposing Gothic edifice with spires 160 feet in height, the loftier spire of Saint Michael being destroyed by a hurricane in 1768, after withstanding the storms of more than six centuries. That Bordeaux is a center of intellectual activity is shown by its many schools of science art and belles-lettres, the communal library, founded in 1566, containing 250,000 volumes, with museums of natural history and antiquities.
The cathedral of Nantes, though begun in the fifteenth century, is one of the many temples that remain unfinished. In the southern transept is the marble tomb of Francis II, the last of Brittanys dukes, and of his wife Marguerite de Foix, their recumbent effigies surrounded with upright figures of justice, temperance, prudence, and fortitude, and with statuettes of apostles and saints. Near the Place Royal, with its modern fountain and profusion of statuary, is the Gothic church of St. Nicholas, with double aisles, and a tower nearly 300 feet in height, its gilded choir-screen and high-altar of white marble being the most striking features of the interior.
Nantes is a commercial and manufacturing town, old-fashioned but pleasing in appearance, and with many buildings of historic interest. Among them is its castle, founded in the ninth century, used first as a ducal residence, then as a state prison, and now serving as artillery headquarters. In the town-hall is a richly enameled golden casket, which once contained, as is said, the heart of Anne of Brittany. There are several museums, in one of which is a valuable collection of paintings presented by the duke of Feltre.
Brest was a place of some importance at least as early as the days of Duke John IV, who declared. "He is not duke of Brittany who is not duke of Brest." Its harbor, constructed by Richelieu with wooden wharves, was improved by Colbert, who substituted wharves of masonry, Vauban and others surrounding it with forts and batteries, while Napoleon III expended 15,000,000 francs on the development of a new commercial port as yet but partially completed. The town is built on hillsides so steep that the third story of many houses are on a level with the ground floor of those above. Apart from its fortresses and naval establishment, it contains little of interest, except a thirteenth century castle with massive towers, and a chapel and shrine of the virgin, to whom shipwrecked sailors addressed their prayers. Cherbourg has a strongly fortified harbor cut out of the solid rock, and yet, with room for fifty large vessels of war, the largest ships in the French navy being repaired in its docks or constructed within its yards.
The docks of Havre are among the finest in the world, nearly 20,000 vessels entering and clearing yearly from this port, which is second only to Marseilles in commercial importance. Trade with the United States is large, especially for imports of cereals cotton and petroleum, and exports of jewelry and cloth. There is steam communication with a score of foreign ports, and the harbor is also fortified as a naval station. Its principal street is the Rue de Paris, and among its principal buildings are the hotel de ville, the Musee, and the churches of St. Francis and Notre Dame. Dieppe is a modern town, though with a thirteenth century church and a fifteenth century castle, the latter now used for barracks and both in part of modern construction. It is a busy place, and ever since the duchess of Berry built there her Maison Quenouille, has been a favorite summer cider pre resort.
Boulogne ranks fourth among the seaports of France, though its exports and imports, amounting to 750,000,000 francs a year, are carried almost entirely in English vessels. On the improvement and extension of its harbor, the entrance to which is formed by piers extending far into the sea, about 40,000,000 francs have been expended within the last score of years. On its western side is the large semicircular basin constructed by Napoleon for his flotilla of 2,400 craft wherein to transport his troops to the shores of England, a Doric column of the grand army, 170 feet in height, marking the spot where 180,000 men were encamped. The high or old town is surrounded with thirteenth century ramparts flanked by massive towers, and contains among other buildings the cathedral, the palais de justice and the hotel de ville, the last occupying the site of an ancient castle where Godfrey de Bouillon was born. In the lower or new town are many handsome hotels and shops, patronized largely by English residents and visitors, who have anglicized this portion of the city. Churches are plentiful, and a theater and museum, in which is a library containing richly illuminated manuscripts, are among the attractions of this favorite watering place. Through the port of Calais, whence the cliffs of Dover are plainly visible, pass every twelvemonth more than 250,000 travelers, by whom the place is mainly supported; for there is little commerce, and manufactures are of no importance. Overlooking the town is the citadel built by Richelieu, and in its center a spacious marketplace where stands the hotel de ville with busts of the great cardinal, of Eustache de St. Pierre, and of the duke of Guise.
Nearby is the Hotel de Guise, erected by Edward III in the Tudor style as a guildhall for wool-staplers. The church of Notre Dame, originally a twelfth century structure, rebuilt during the English occupation and with many modern alterations, is remarkable chiefly for its altar, and its ‘Descent from the Cross’ by Rubens.
Among scores of stately and time-honored cathedrals the finest in France is that of Amiens, a Gothic thirteenth century edifice, though with many later additions which have somewhat marred the effect, especially the slender spire above the transept, 360 feet in height and out of proportion to the massive structure beneath it. Other remarkable buildings are the city hall where the peace of Amiens was signed in 1802, the Musee de Picardie, with its sculptures paintings and antiquities, and the Bibliotheque Communale with 80,000 volumes and several hundred manuscripts. Amiens is one of the foremost of manufacturing towns, especially for cashmeres velvets linens woolens and kerseymeres. Rouen is also a great manufacturing center, its numerous cotton-mills causing it to be named the Manchester of France. It is, moreover, an important port; for the Seine, increased in depth by dredging and embankments, is navigable for vessels drawing thirty feet. Though still rich in medieval architecture, here as in Paris many of the most striking monuments have been swept away by modern improvements. The cathedral is yet another of the imposing Gothic structures erected in the thirteenth century, though the design is lacking in symmetry, the embellishments somewhat florid, and the sculptures of no special merit. Of its two towers, the Tour de Beurre is so named because it was built with the money paid for indulgences to eat butter during lent. In better taste is the Gothic church of St. Ouen, with its richly ornamented façade, and that of St. Maelon, with lofty modem spire, and on one of its tympanums a bas relief of the 'Last Judgment’, described by Ruskin as fearfully grotesque. The Palais de Justice and the Hotel du Bourgtheroulde resemble each other in style and in lavish interior decorations. The Musee is a handsome edifice of modern date, with collections both of ancient and modern art. There is also an antiquarian museum, and the municipal library has coins and medals in addition to its 150,000 volumes and 3,000 manuscripts. Vitre is famous for its medieval remains, especially those of its castle, with ivy-clad walls and battlemented towers, portions of it recently restored being used as a museum and library. The town itself wears a feudal aspect, many of its buildings dating from the middle ages, while the cathedral, though with modern features, is mainly of fifteenth and sixteenth century architecture. A few miles distant is the Chateau des Rochers, also a medieval mansion and once the favorite residence of Madame de Sevigne.
Rheims, situated in the midst of a fertile plain bordered by vine-clad hills, was a place of historic interest in the days of Clevis, who here was consecrated, as is said, with oil from a golden phial brought from heaven by a dove. Through its fidelity to the Romans the town received many favors from the emperors, a triumphal arch named the Mars gate, from a temple of Mars that stood in its neighborhood, marking the spot which Agrippa selected as the terminus for his system of roads. As a center of the champagne trade it is of commercial importance, wine to the value of many millions of francs being stored in cellars hewn out of the solid rock. It is also a manufacturing city, especially for woolens and merinos, the spinning and weaving of which keeps busy a hundred mills. Chief among its buildings is the magnificent cathedral erected in the thirteenth century on the site of the basilica where Clevis was baptized, its facade with recessed portals and rose window covered with statuary forming one of the most beautiful compositions of the Middle Ages. Above them, and serving as a basement for the graceful towers which crown the edifice, is the gallery of the kings, where are colossal images of many sovereigns. The transepts are profusely decorated with sculptures; of tapestries rich and rare there are many specimens, and in the treasury are precious relics and plate, with the ornaments and vessels used at coronations. Close at hand is the archiepiscopal palace, where monarchs were banqueted before being crowned. The abbey of St. Remi, founded in 852 and rebuilt in the eleventh century, still presents the outline of its noble basilica, though somewhat impaired by modern restorations . The stained-glass choir windows are beautiful specimens of medieval art; the arcades of the chapels adjoining the apse are supported by graceful pillars, and near the high-altar is the mausoleum of St. Remi in the form of a temple of colored marbles. The town hall, capped with an elegant campanile, and on its pediment an equestrian statue of its founder Louis XIII, has a well-selected library, a picture gallery, and a museum of natural history.
Nancy, the former capital of Lorraine, is in its modern portion one of the best built towns in France, and one of the most beautiful in site, its spacious plazas, avenues, and promenades flanked by fine buildings, beyond which the suburbs extend toward clustering vineyards and wooded hills.
Of several triumphal arches, all of antiquarian interest, the finest is the Porte Royal, erected in honor of Louis XV in the form of a Corinthian gateway, with statues and bas-reliefs of Roman divinities. Of an ancient ducal palace founded by Raoul in the fifteenth century only a single wing remains, the entrance to which, containing an equestrian statue of Antoine de Lorraine, is one of the finest specimens of the later Gothic style. In one of the galleries is an archaeological museum containing manuscripts, miniatures, medals, cameos, gems, and a tapestry more than ninety feet in length from the tent of Charles the Bold who met his fate at the battle of Nancy. Adjoining the palace is a Franciscan church where are many monuments, its Chapelle Ronde containing the black marble sarcophagi of the ducal mortuary. The cathedral is a gloomy and cumbersome edifice, with nothing worthy of mention except its well-stocked treasury. The university, once of wide repute, has been converted into a public library; the town hall has a gallery of paintings; there is a school of forestry, and in the neighborhood is the first agricultural station founded in France. At Aix-les-Bains, a favorite watering place as far back as the days of republican Rome, are many ancient monuments, a triumphal arch of Marius commemorating his victory over the Teutons. It is still a fashionable resort, its hot sulfur springs containing remarkable healing properties.
Such are the principal cities and towns of the French republic, though of many others, had space permitted, mention might have been made. The island of Corsica may here be mentioned as one of the political departments of France. Ajaccio, its capital and commercial center, with a spacious and sheltered harbor, has its citadel, cathedral and town hall, its library and botanic gardens, and little the worse for wear are the house in which Napoleon was born and the marble statue erected in his memory. Agriculture, together with all other industries, is in a backward condition, due mainly to the minute subdivision of land, whereby are perpetuated the hereditary feuds with which the country has been for centuries distracted. Even the forests that cover the hills are neglected as a source of wealth, though for ages furnishing timber for the navies of antiquity.
Passing to the adjacent republic of Switzerland we find a confederation of states originally united for common defense against a common foe, and still, though intense in their patriotism, differing in language religion and social and industrial conditions. Its political annals need not detain us; for they are intricate and local. Nor could it well be otherwise with a nation divided by natural barriers into isolated and self-reliant communities, far more so even than was ancient Greece, its political boundaries having little to do with those which nature has provided. Though a land of mountains and lakes, with less than thirty percent of productive area, Switzerland supports a population almost as dense as that of France, many of the cantons having from 300 to 500 persons to the square mile. While the former figure is surpassed in few of the French departments, yet the single department of the Seine contains more people than all the sister republic. The Swiss incline to agriculture, 300,000 peasant proprietors representing probably, with their families and employees, two-thirds of the total inhabitants. There are also large manufacturing industries, nearly 5,000 establishments being subject to factory law, the production of textile fabrics alone affording employment to 100,000 operatives.
Geneva, though the capital of the smallest canton, is the largest and richest city in Switzerland; its wealth due largely to manufactures, which as early as the sixteenth century included velvets and ribbons, gold and silver plate, watches and jewelry, many other industries being added since that time.
The town is well situated on the marge of the lake which bears its name, and whence flows westward under several bridges the broad, deep current of the Rhone. Of several quays the finest is that of Montblanc, from the side of which rises the massive Brunswick monument with its colossal lions, marble statues of the Guelphs, and equestrian statue of the duke who left to Geneva his fortune of 20,000,000 francs. There are many handsome, but few very large or pretentious buildings, and none that can be classed as great architectural monuments. The cathedral, founded as is said in the tenth century on the site of a temple of Apollo, is a second-class structure, though with a style and plan of its own, except a Corinthian portico, resembling that of the Roman pantheon, introduced into its main facade. The hotel de ville is remarkable only for its unsightliness; but is of interest for it historic associations and its valuable collection of archives. The university buildings, connected by glass galleries, are of modern date, and contain a library of 150,000 volumes and 12,000 manuscripts, a cabinet of coins and an archaeological museum. The Athenee, founded, by a wealthy Genevese, has a gallery of art and a library relating to the history of art. The Musee Rath was erected by the sisters of a Russian general, who expended most of their fortune in thus perpetuating the family name in the city of their nativity. It is a tasteful edifice of Greek design and with Corinthian portico, its chambers well stored with the canvases of modern and ancient masters.
The Fol museum is noted for its Greek and Etruscan vases, and in the Musee Ariana, built and equipped by Gustave Revilliod, are illustrated the many branches of fine and decorative art to which the tastes of the founder inclined. Here are the richest of tapestries, porcelains, bronzes, ivory carvings, stained glass, antique furniture, medals, coins, and enamels, with paintings drawings and statuary by the foremost of Swiss artists. As one of the principal resorts for wealthy foreigners, Geneva is well provided with hotels and villas, some of which, as the chateau of the baroness Adolphe Rothschild, are of palatial dimensions. Yet this does not compensate for the lack of monuments characteristic of the age during which the city has sat enthroned by the lake; for Calvinism has ever been too firmly devoted to the beauty of holiness to permit many other forms of beauty in the birthplace of its creed.
Lausanne is picturesquely situated on the terraced slopes of Mount Jorat and its neighboring hills, one of which, near the close of the sixth century, Marius of Aventicum selected as the seat of his bishopric. On the highest of these hills is the cathedral, a plain Gothic structure in the form of a Latin cross dedicated, by Gregory X in the presence of Rudolph of Hapsburg. Overshadowing the town and on its loftiest a medieval castle, and among other buildings worthy of mention are the Academy the Musee Arlaud, and the Cantonal museum with, its library of 150,000 volumes and its collections of coins, medals, and Celtic antiquities. Since the time when Gibbon, whose praises called attention to the beauties of its site, completed here his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Lausanne has become an educational center and a favorite resort for visitors, "In London", says the historian, “I was lost in the crowd; in Lausanne I ranked with the first families.
Instead of a small house between a street and a stable-yard, I occupied a spacious and convenient mansion, open on the south to a beautiful and boundless horizon. From the garden a rich scenery of meadows and vineyards descends to the lake, and the prospect far beyond is crowned by the stupendous mountains of Savoy." A few miles away is the town of Vevey, the scene of Rousseau's romance La Nouvelle Heloise. In the neighborhood, clustering around Montreux, are many villages and chateaus, among them the famous castle of Chillon, famed in Byron’s romantic verse; though had the poet been better acquainted with his theme, he would have depicted less strongly the sufferings of Bonivard and the cruelty of his captor. As a fact Bonivard, a wealthy Genevese, inheriting from his uncle the rich priory of St. Victor, was more to be envied than pitied, and only for intermeddling with disputes which concerned him not was imprisoned for a few years by the duke of Savoy. Released by the Swiss forces in 1536, he ended his days in peace and comfort, at a ripe old age, and as one of the most respected citizens of the republic.
Berne is the capital of a canton which contains some of the grandest scenery in Switzerland,—the Jungfrau, the Eiger, the Wetterhorn, and other monarchs of the Oberland. Founded in the twelfth century and destroyed by fire in the fifteenth, it became the seat of the national government in 1848, before and since which date it has played a prominent part in political annals. Built on a peninsula formed by a curve in the Aar, the town is essentially Swiss, and with strong medieval features, especially in its rathhouse where are the chambers of the government council, and its richly decorated Gothic cathedral, though in both are modern renovations. Some of the streets are broad and regular, as the Kramgasse, Marktgasse, and other arteries of traffic, where also are ancient and there is also an historical museum with, statues and fountains. The Municipal library is chiefly historical ethnographic and archeological collections, while educational and charitable institutions are very numerous.
Thun, near the efflux of the Aar into the Thunner See, is the portal of the Bernese Oberland, commanding one of the finest panoramic views in this land of scenic wonders. It is a quaint old-fashioned town with nothing remarkable except its medieval castle surmounted by a tower in which is an historical museum. Interlaken, on the left bank of the Aar between lakes Thun and Brienz, is also noted for the beauty of its site and the mildness and purity of its atmosphere. Though the normal population is less than 5,000, it has long been growing in favor as a summer resort, visitors to the number of 250,000 a year making it their headquarters for excursions to the Oberland. The avenue known as the Hoheweg, shaded with rows, of walnut trees and flanked with spacious hotels and shops, is the principal business and residence quarter.
Elsewhere the buildings were formerly occupied mainly by religious houses, chief among them being an Augustinian convent, now used as a hospital and for government offices.
Neuchatel, on the lake of that name which probably covered in bygone ages the lower valley of the Aar, is built on the base and foothills of the Jura, the castle after which it is called, now the headquarters of the cantonal government, dating from the Burgundian period and afterward used as the residence of the princes of Neuchatel. Near it is an abbey-church of twelfth century architecture, with pointed Gothic towers belonging to a later era. In the Musee des Beaux Arts are galleries of paintings, drawings, and antiquities, owned by the municipality, and in the college Latin are a public library and a valuable collection in natural history contributed by Agassiz. Many of the charitable institutions were endowed by private citizens, among them the hospital established by David de Fury, who bequeathed to his native town 4,500,000 francs.
The site of Lucerne, with its many hotels, on both banks of the Reuss, where it issues with the swiftness of a torrent from a western arm of the lake, is singularly picturesque amid its setting of richly cultivated hills, beyond which are the green slopes of the Rigi and the snow-clad summits of Uri and Engelberg. The effect is further accentuated by its ancient walls and watch-towers one of which, rising from the edge of the, lake, served as a lucerna or lighthouse, whence the name of town and canton. Among the quaint buildings in the narrow, crooked streets of the older quarter is the rathhaus, containing an historic museum in which are many curiosities. In the libraries of Lucerne, and especially the town library, is an almost complete collection of documents relating to the medieval annals of Switzerland. In ecclesiastical architecture there is nothing remarkable, except perhaps for the hofkirche with its slender towers and carved pulpit, stalls, and altars. An object of universal interest is Thorwaldsen's colossal lion, transfixed with a broken weapon, and in its paw the lily of the Bourbons, a memorial of the Swiss guards who fell in defense of the Tuileries. From the lake of Lucerne the Rigi railway rises to a height of 5,700 feet, with a gradient of 250 feet per 1,000, forming one of the most remarkable achievements in railroad engineering.
Zurich, the former capital of the confederation, is a large manufacturing city, its exports of silk alone amounting to 100,000,000 francs a year. It is also a financial and educational center, including among many public and private institutions a university and a polytechnic school with numerous branches. The two portions known as the Large and Little town, on either side of the Limmat, are by several bridges one of which, called the Munster brucke leads to the ancient Swiss, cathedral of Gross Munster, a monument of rare historic interest.
Erected between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries, its principal chapel was the burial place of the patron saints of Zurich, a chamber above being used as the public treasury. Its towers are partly of Gothic design, and on one of them is the enthroned figure of Charlemagne, a liberal patron of the cathedral and probably the founder of its chapter. The oldest of the parish churches are St. Peter's and the Frau Munster, the latter formerly a convent erected in the ninth century by Louis the German. In the choir of the Dominican church is the cantonal library of 100,000 volumes, and in the Wasserkirche, on the site of a pagan temple where the patron saints suffered martyrdom, is one of the largest libraries in Switzerland, containing also a valuable collection of antiquities from the lake dwellings of the country.
Bale, or Basel, where was held the last of the three great councils of church reform, is first mentioned as a Roman military post erected in the fifth century, where after it gradually increased in importance until in the fourteenth century it was almost destroyed by earthquake. Later it continued to flourish, notwithstanding the ravages of the Thirty Years’ war, followed by internal dissensions and, is now a large manufacturing and commercial center, especially for the transit trade of Germany and France. Still in existence, though not in its original shape, is the Gothic cathedral founded in 1010, its northern portal adorned with statues of the evangelists, above whom Christ sits enthroned on the judgment seat. The principal museum, with its natural history, ethnographic, and fine-art collections, is also the home of the university library, containing 250,000 volumes and 6,000 manuscripts. There is also an historical museum, the best of its kind in Switzerland, stored with the weapons of many ages, with porcelains bronzes medals and coins, with antique cabinets panelings and furniture, with medieval costumes and embroideries, and with the handsome gold and silver plate of the guild companies of Bale. Constance is still architecturally almost a medieval town, its minster, its Dominican convent, now converted into a cotton factory, and the kaufhaus, or market-place, in whose hall was held the ecclesiastical council over which Sigismund presided, all belonging to this period. There are, however, many modern structures beyond the ancient walls which still surround the older quarter.
On an island connected with the shore by an iron bridge 1,700 feet in length are the chateau and pleasure-grounds of the grand duke of Baden.
Among minor Swiss towns is that of Sion, surrounded with castles built on isolated hills, one of them the site of an ancient Roman fort. Here also are a fifteenth century Gothic cathedral and the still more ancient church of Notre Dame de Valere. Nor should we forget the famous hospice of St. Bernard, where travelers are fed and lodged gratuitously if need be, and where many lives have been saved by the noble animals which track those who lie buried beneath the snow. It was formerly one of the wealthiest of convents, but with revenues now reduced to 30,000 or 40,000 francs a year, little of which is derived from the 20,000 wayfarers entertained every twelvemonth within its walls. The present edifice belongs to the sixteenth century, and in its library is a collection of ancient and modern coins.
Comfort and contentment are wealth. Of all the nations of the earth none are more comfortable than the French and none more contented than the Swiss, the ease with which the former has borne the burden of its war indemnity and the enormous losses incurred by the fiasco of the Panama Canal affording sufficient proof of her wonderfully elastic resources. Preserving the form and spirit of constitutional republicanism in the center of monarchies whose armaments are a menace to the world, these two nations justify the hope that other European countries will at no very distant day break loose from the empty forms, the gilded shackles, and the senseless traditions of imperialism. While many great movements have had their origin in France, none were of such significance as her championship of the true principles of political life; and in the preservation of her present attitude the growing resistance to arbitrary power has its surest guarantee of stability.
Miscellany—France has all the conditions and requirements of wealth, diversified soil configuration and climate, agriculture, mines and manufactures. Her forests are valued at $600,000,000, yielding an annual revenue of $8,000,000. Half of the 36,000,000 population live in the country, grain-growing being their primary occupation, vegetables and all useful plants, with grass and vines, being also largely cultivated. Chief among manufactures is the working of textile materials, while among mines coal and iron are conspicuous.
As between the cost of royalty and republicanism in France during the present century, there were paid to Louis XVIII and family a little less than 20,000,000 francs a year; Charles X 32,000,000; Louis Philippe 12,000,000; second empire 25,000,000. The president's salary is 600,000 francs, and an allowance of 162,400 a year for household expenses. Total revenue of the republic 3,000,000,000 francs.
The wars of Napoleon the Great cost France $1,275,000,000; the wars of Napoleon the Little cost $2,210,000,000; the former made the enemy pay the expenses, the latter paid the expenses of the enemy.
The following is the true version of the famous necklace scandal. In 1795 the court jeweler Boechmer offered to Marie Antoinette a diamond necklace made for Madame du Barry, who was banished from court after the death of Louis XV. The queen coveted the bawble, but could not afford the cost, which was $320,000; whereupon the countess de la Motte determined to secure it for herself, forging the queen’s name and persuading her almoner, Cardinal de Rohan, to purchase it for $280,000. For this she was sentenced to imprisonment for life, and the cardinal was also put on trial but acquitted, while the queen herself was suspected of being a party to the fraud. "I shall not be surprised," said Talleyrand, "if this miserable affair overturns the throne."
Paris grows rich on the follies of mankind. The most costly dress made by Worth was for the wife of an American millionaire, who paid for it $40,000, the embroidery on the train being valued at $4,000. It was mainly the foolish extravagance of American women that made Worth rich and famous; for no such prices were thought of until the daughters of our republic were seized with a mania for Worth dresses and titled husbands. The great man-milliner had his prototype in Leroy, who during the first empire attired the princesses of the imperial court, and still earlier in the days of Louis XV, when one Rohmberg, a Bavarian, was the fashionable dressmaker, accumulating a fortune of $250,000, an enormous sum for a bourgeois of the later monarchy.
Dussault, incarcerated by Richelieu, was confined in the Bastille for 61 years.
The government library at Paris has 2,200,000 volumes; British Museum, 1,500,000; Munich, 900,000; Berlin, 800,000; Copenhagen, 510,000; Dresden, 500,000; Gottengen, 500,000; Vienna, 400,000.
In Europe, the United States, and Canada are 70,000,000 houses; Paris has 90,000 houses; New York, 115,000; Philadelphia, 87,000; Tokio, 342,000; London, 600,000.
Twenty years ago the debt of Paris was $340,000,000, or $170 for each one of the 2,000,000 inhabitants; the debt of France at the same time was $2,400,000,000. The army of France at that time numbered 470,000 men, maintained at a cost of 900 francs a year each, or $84,600,000 in all, an amount ten times greater than the cost of public schools, which is $8,400,000 annually.
The assignats issued by the first French republic in 1790, amounting in value to $1,800,000, became so depreciated that a pair of boots cost $1,500, and a pound of butter $150.
Paris has a large mill for making tooth-picks.
The hospitals of Paris have a subsidy of nearly $2,000,000 per annum.
The receipts of the grand opera in Paris amounted in 1894 to $630,000, in addition to which there was a government subvention of $60,000; yet as in other years it did not pay expenses. For the same year the income of the Comedie Francaise was $400,000; of the Opera Comique $309,000, and of the Vaudeville $298,000.
Where the great department store, Au Bon Marche, now stands, in the rue du Bac, was once the shop of Mine Boucicaut, laundress, later dressmaker and dealer in clothes, who with her husband made $50,000,000, leaving $15,000,000 to charity.
A banquet given in Paris to 15,200 mayors of French communes cost $40,000.
The Paris broker, Verin, was in June 1891 declared a defaulter to the amount of $5,000,000.
In the Paris omnibus strike ending in May 1891, the company loss was $750,000, and that of the drivers $1,500,000.
Paris is not only an art center but one of the best markets in the world for works of art. At the sale of the Gamier collection, in 1895, Millet's 'Harrow' sold for $15,000 and his 'Sheep in a Fold' for $7,000; Daubigny's 'Washerwoman' brought $10,000, while for Manet s 'Nana' , $1,800 was paid; many small landscape paintings realizing excellent prices.
It is estimated that in Paris 150,000 persons live on charity. Nevertheless France, like other countries has its rich beggars, one who died at Auxerre in 1894 leaving $200,000 in bonds, which were found in his trunk, and in his cellar some 35 dozen of wine of the vintage of 1790.
A will whereby a French marquis left to the pope an estate valued at $2,500,000 was set aside on the ground that the supreme pontiff was a sovereign, and therefore debarred by law from acquiring title to realty in France.
Napoleon I who expended more than $20,000,000 for the improvement and decoration of Paris, left the very moderate fortune of $1,200,000 to his generals and favorites not, forgetting his valet, who received as is said, $80,000. In the codicil to his will he bequeaths $2,000 to an officer named Cantillon, who had been tried for attempting the assassination of the duke of Wellington. "Cantillon," he says, "had as much right to assassinate that oligarchist as the latter had to send me to perish on the rock of St. Helena." By Napoleon the cathedral of Notre Dame, where in 1804 he was crowned emperor of France, was reopened as a place of worship. During the revolution it had been converted into a temple of Reason, with an enthroned figure before which a ballet dancer received in state the worship of reason’s votaries. A statue of Liberty supplanted that of the virgin; in place of sacred hymns were heard the songs of the national guards, and young women dressed in white, with torches in their hands, walked in procession around the cathedral while drunken orgies were held in its side-chapels.
France produces 26,000,000 pairs of gloves annually.
France makes every year 4,000 tons of glycerin.
Three millions of people patronize the pawn-shops of France.
Paris pays its police some $6,000,000 annually.
The poultry stock in France numbers 87,000,000.
In France, for the 20 years ending with 1894, the area in vines and the production and export of wine show a serious diminution. From 5,600,000 acres in 1875 the acreage under cultivation decreased to 4,400,000 acres in 1894; the production meanwhile being reduced from 1,826,000,000 to 960,000,000 gallons, and the export from 82,000,000 gallons to 37,000,000 gallons. The exports for 1894 were about the smallest recorded during this period; but for most of the intervening years the total vintage was far below the figures for that year. It will be seen that in proportion the decrease in acreage is much smaller than in yield, an acre of grapes producing 327 gallons of wine in 1875 and only 220 gallons in 1894. This is due to various pests, and especially to the phylloxera, which first made its appearance in the Medoc district in 1869, its ravages at one time threatening the entire destruction of the vineyards. Medoc is the heart of the wine-producing industry, of which France may be considered as the home, its sauternes selling at wholesale for as much as $300 a hogshead.
In 76 out of the 87 departments of France, wine-making is the chief or one of the chief industries, with an average output for the last ten years of 680,000,000 gallons, Italy coming next with 630,000,000 gallons, then Spain with 562,000,000, and Austro-Hungary with 144,000,000 gallons: Germany, Portugal, and all other countries falling below 100,000,000 gallons, and with a united product less than that of France, for which $250,000,000 a year is probably a fair valuation.
The famous Sevres vase presented to Tippoo Sahib by Louis XVI was sold in London in 1876 for $7,300. It is urn-shaped, extremely thin, only eight inches high, and realized more than 2,000 times its weight in gold.
France has in gold, silver, and paper money $2,500,000.000 or $42.15 per capita.
France has spent in public works $3,000,000,000, of which $400,000,000 was for canals.
France makes every year $25,000,000 worth of ribbons.
There are 652 asylums in Great Britain, having in all 104,000 beds, and costing annually $13,000,000. France has 1,105 asylums, 120,300 beds, which cost yearly $13,800,006.
More than 10,000,000,000 cigars are smoked every year in America, or about 60 for every inhabitant, In France 20,000,000 clay pipes are made annually.
The University of Paris has over 9,000 students and 180 professors.
Versailles, now a town of 30,000 inhabitants, was originally the hunting-lodge of Louis XIII It was chosen as the place for a palace by Louis XIV, who for eleven years had an army of workmen employed on the buildings and grounds at a cost of $200,000,000.
Ferdinand de Lesseps was responsible alike for the greatest engineering feat, the greatest engineering failure, and the greatest financial disaster of the age; for the success of the Suez Canal project and for the wreck and ruin at Panama, with its attendant loss of nearly $200,000,000. He was himself rather a promoter than an engineer, and more of a diplomatist than either, serving for many years as consul or minister in Spain and Italy before securing from Said Pasha the right to construct the Suez Canal. After the opening of the canal he was recognized as one of the most remarkable men of the age, and was rewarded with honors and decorations by nearly all the sovereigns of Europe, while the foremost of scientific associations admitted him to honorary membership. But the construction of the Panama canal was too difficult a problem even for the genius of de Lesseps, who would never admit or give due weight to engineering difficulties. For years the savings of the peasantry and of small tradesmen and capitalists were poured into the company's treasury, to be sunk in the rocks and sands of the Isthmus , or squandered in extravagant expenses, $12,000,000, for instance, being paid for advertising and more than $4,000,000 for newspaper notices . Presently came the end, though even when bankruptcy was inevitable, de Lesseps would never admit his failure, continuing his appeals for money until the people bad no more to give. When the blow fell, it left him in a moribund condition, so that except for a vague sense of disaster he was unconscious of what was occurring, and knew nothing of his trial and conviction. At the age of 89 he passed away, simply through the exhaustion of his vital powers.
The order of Fleece of Gold was instituted by Philippe de Bourgogne, that is to say Philip the Good, in 1430.
The story of Fairstar has been pretty well told, coming as it does first from the Milanese tales of Straparola, 1550, and again told by the comtesse D’Aunoy in her Fairy Talce. To the queen Blondina were born in a bunch two boys and a girl, Fairstar the name of the latter, all with a star in the forehead and a chain of gold about the neck. Brunetta, sister of Blondina and wife of the king's brother, had the same day a son, named Chery. Blondina ordered the four children to be strangled by Feintisa, who sent them adrift in a boat, which was found by a corsair, who took the children to his wife Corsina. Whenever the hair of these children was combed, jewels fell from their heads, so that the corsair became exceedingly rich. In the end, a bird made known their birth, and Chery married Fairstar. In like manner the comtesse D'Aunoy makes over the old tale of Cinderella into Finetta, a cinder girl, though one of three princesses. Thus plays the fancy as the centuries pass, the world's wealth of fable out-weighing the world's wealth of fact. Did not De Quincey try in vain to borrow half a crown on the security of a sovereign? Napoleon did not like it that those about him should be taking bribes. Massena, Auguer, Augereau, Brune, Juno, and Talleyrand were all great bribe-takers, the last named confessing to having received 60,000,000 francs from German royalty. The great arch-thief had a way of manifesting his dislike of theft in others by making drafts on the bribe-takers , which were invariably honored, Massena once disgorging 2,000,000 francs on one of his master's orders to pay.
The money which Napoleon wrung from Europe he showered freely upon his generals who had helped him to win it. Berthier's annual income was at one time 1,355,000 francs; Ney, Davout, Soult, and Besieres received 600,000 francs each; Massena, Victor, Augereau Bernadotte, and Mortier, 400,000; others 200,000. While at St. Petersburgh Caulaincourt received 800,000 francs; Davout's yearly income at one time was 910,000 francs, and 728,000 francs.
As good diamonds as those from Africa, if people would choose to think so, and at much less cost, are cut in large quantities at Sdar, Switzerland, where real gems used to be manipulated, until they found the imitation, as they are called, to pay better. Brilliants and imitation gems are now used more than the genuine, and when real diamonds are manufactured by the bushel, the great trouble and expense of digging for these pretty bawbles in South Africa will be abolished.
Solomon Heine the banker, at his death, left to his niece the princess of Monaco, 30,000,000 francs.
So many Russians were ruined by the gaming tables at Monte Carlo, that the tsar at one time forbade his subjects visiting the place.