Paris As It Was and As It Is
Francis W. Blagdon
Part 3 out of 14
commanded by the _Chef de brigade_ SAVABY, aide-de-camp to the First
Consul. This garrison may amount to about 15,000 effective men.
The consular guard and all these different corps, equipped in their
best manner, repair to the parade, and, deducting the troops on duty,
the number of men assembled there may, in general be from twelve to
By a late regulation, no one, during the time of the parade, can
remain within the railing of the court, either on foot or horseback,
except the field and staff officers on duty; but persons enter the
apartments of the _Tuileries_, by means of tickets, which are
distributed to a certain number by the governor of the palace.
While my obliging friend was communicating to me the above
information, the troops continued marching into the court below, till
it was so crowded that, at first sight, it appeared impracticable for
them to move, much less to manoeuvre. The morning was extremely fine;
the sun shone in full splendour, and the gold and silver lace and
embroidery on the uniforms of the officers and on the trappings of
their chargers, together with their naked sabres, glittered with
uncommon lustre. The concourse of people without the iron railing was
immense: in short, every spot or building, even to the walls and
rafters of houses under demolition, whence a transient view of the
parade could be obtained, was thronged with spectators.
By twelve o'clock, all the troops were drawn up in excellent order,
and, as you may suppose, presented a grand _coup d'oeil._ I never
beheld a finer set of men than the grenadiers of the consular guard;
but owing, perhaps, to my being accustomed to see our troops with
short skirts, I thought that the extreme length of their coats
detracted from their military air. The horses mostly of Norman breed,
could not be compared to our English steeds, either for make or
figure; but, sorry and rough as is their general appearance, they
are, I am informed, capable of bearing much fatigue, and resisting
such privations as would soon render our more sleek cavalry unfit for
service. That they are active, and surefooted, I can vouch; for, in
all their sudden wheelings and evolutions in this confined space, not
one of them stumbled. They formed, indeed, a striking contrast to the
beautiful white charger that was led about in waiting for the Chief
The band of the consular guard, which is both numerous and select,
continued playing martial airs, till the colours having been brought
down from the palace, under the escort of an officer and a small
detachment, the drums beat _aux champs_, and the troops presented
arms, when they were carried to their respective stations. Shortly
after, the impatient steed, just mentioned, was conducted to the foot
of the steps of the grand vestibule of the palace. I kept my eye
stedfastly fixed on that spot; and such was the agility displayed by
BONAPARTE in mounting his horse, that, to borrow the words of
Shakspeare, he seemed to
"Rise from the ground like feather'd Mercury,
And vaulted with such ease into his seat,
As if an angel dropp'd down from the clouds
To turn and wind a fiery Pegasus,
And witch the world with noble horsemanship."
Off he went at a hand canter, preceded by his aides-de-camp, and
attended, on his right, by General LASNES and followed by other
superior officers, particularly the general commanding the garrison
of Paris, and him at the head of the district.
BONAPARTE was habited in the consular dress, scarlet velvet
embroidered with gold, and wore a plain cocked hat with the national
cockade. As I purpose to obtain a nearer view of him, by placing
myself in the apartments of the palace on the next parade day, I
shall say nothing of his person till that opportunity offers, but
confine myself to the military show in question.
Having rid rapidly along the several lines of infantry and cavalry,
and saluted the colours as he passed, BONAPARTE (attended by all his
retinue, including a favourite Mamaluk whom he brought from Egypt),
took a central position, when the different corps successively filed
off before him with most extraordinary briskness; the corps composing
the consular guard preceded those of the garrison and all the others:
on inquiry, however, I find, that this order is not always observed.
It is no less extraordinary than true, that the news of the
establishment of this grand parade produced on the mind of the late
emperor of Russia the first impression in favour of the Chief Consul.
No sooner did Paul I. hear of the circumstance, than he exclaimed:
"BONAPARTE is, however, a great man."
Although the day was so favourable, the parade was soon over, as
there was no distribution of arms of honour, such as muskets,
pistols, swords, battle-axes, &c. which the First Consul presents
with his own hand to those officers and soldiers who have
distinguished themselves by deeds of valour or other meritorious
The whole ceremony did not occupy more than half an hour, when
BONAPARTE alighted at the place where he had taken horse, and
returned to his audience-room in the palace, for the purpose of
holding his levee. I shall embrace a future opportunity to speak of
the interior etiquette observed on this occasion in the apartments,
and close this letter with an assurance that you shall have an early
account of the approaching _fete_.
_Paris, November 8, 1801._
Great preparations for the _fete_ of to-morrow have, for several
days, employed considerable numbers of people: it therefore becomes
necessary that I should no longer delay to give you an idea of the
principal scene of action. For that purpose, we must direct our steps
JARDIN DES TUILERIES.
This garden, which is the most magnificent in Paris, was laid out by
the celebrated LE NOTRE in the reign of Lewis XIV. It covers a space
of three hundred and sixty toises long by one hundred and
sixty-eight broad. To the north and south, it is bordered, throughout
its length, by two terraces, one on each side, which, with admirable
art, conceal the irregularity of the ground, and join at the farther
end in the form of a horse-shoe. To the east, it is limited by the
palace of the _Tuileries_; and to the west, by the _Place de la
From the vestibule of the palace, the perspective produces a most
striking effect: the eye first wanders for a moment over the
extensive parterre, which is divided into compartments, planted with
shrubs and flowers, and decorated with basins, _jets-d'eau_, vases,
and statues in marble and bronze; it then penetrates through a
venerable grove which forms a beautiful vista; and, following the
same line, it afterwards discovers a fine road, bordered with trees,
leading by a gentle ascent to _Pont de Neuilly_, through the
_Barriere de Chaillot_, where the prospect closes.
The portico of the palace has been recently decorated with several
statues. On each side of the principal door is a lion in marble.
The following is the order in which the copies of antique statues,
lately placed in this garden, are at present disposed.
On the terrace towards the river, are: 1. Venus _Anadyomene_. 2. An
Apollo of Belvedere. 3. The group of Laocoon. 4. Diana, called by
antiquaries, _Succincta_. 5. Hercules carrying Ajax.
In front of the palace: 1. A dying gladiator. 2. A fighting
gladiator. 3. The flayer of Marsyas. 4. VENUS, styled _a la
coquille_, crouched and issuing from the bath. N. B. All these
figures are in bronze.
In the alley in front of the parterre, in coming from the terrace
next the river: 1. Flora Farnese. 2. Castor and Pollux. 3. Bacchus
instructing young Hercules. 4. Diana.
On the grass-plot, towards the _manege_ or riding-house, Hippomenes
and Atalanta. At the further end is an Apollo, in front of the
horse-shoe walk, decorated with a sphynx at each extremity.
In the corresponding gras-plot towards the river, Apollo and Daphne;
and at the further end, a Venus _Callypyga_, or (according to the
French term) _aux belles fesses_.
In the compartment by the horse-chesnut trees, towards the
riding-house, the Centaur. On the opposite side, the Wrestlers.
Farther on, though on the same side, an Antinoues.
In the niche, under the steps in the middle of the terrace towards
the river, a Cleopatra.
In the alley of orange-trees, near the _Place de la Concorde_,
Meleager; and on the terrace, next to the riding-house, Hercules
In the niche to the right, in front of the octagonal basin, a Faun
carrying a kid. In the one to the left, Mercury Farnese.
Independently of these copies after the antique, the garden is
decorated with several other modern statues, by COYZEVOX, REGNAUDIN,
COSTOU, LE GROS, LE PAUTRE, &c. which attest the degree of perfection
that had been attained, in the course of the last century, by French
sculptors. For a historical account of them, I refer you to a work,
which I shall send you by the first opportunity, written by the
Here, in summer, the wide-spreading foliage of the lofty
horse-chesnut trees afford a most agreeable shade; the air is
cooled by the continual play of the _jets-d'eau_; while upwards of
two hundred orange-trees, which are then set out, impregnate it with
a delightful perfume. The garden is now kept in much better order
than it was under the monarchy. The flower-beds are carefully
cultivated; the walks are well gravelled, rolled, and occasionally
watered; in a word, proper attention is paid to the convenience
of the public.
But, notwithstanding these attractions, as long as it was necessary
for every person entering this garden to exhibit to the sentinels the
national cockade, several fair royalists chose to relinquish its
charming walks, shaded by trees of a hundred years' growth, rather
than comply with the republican mandate. Those anti-revolutionary
_elegantes_ resorted to other promenades; but, since the accession of
the consular government, the wearing of this doubtful emblem of
patriotism has been dispensed with, and the garden of the _Tuileries_
is said to be now as much frequented in the fine season as at any
period of the old _regime_.
The most constant visiters are the _quidnuncs_, who, according to the
difference of the seasons, occupy alternately three walks; the
_Terrasse des Feuillans_ in winter; that which is immediately
underneath in spring; and the centre or grand alley during the summer
Before the revolution, this garden was not open to the populace,
except on the festival of St. Lewis, and the eve preceding, when
there was always a public concert, given under a temporary
amphitheatre erected against the west facade of the palace: at
present no person whatever is refused admittance.
There are six entrances, at each of which sentinels are regularly
mounted from the grenadiers of the consular guard; and, independently
of the grand guard-room over the vestibule of the palace, there is
one at the end of the garden which opens on the _Place de la
Concorde_, and another on the _Terrasse des Feuillans_.
But what is infinitely more interesting, on this terrace, is a new
and elegant building, somewhat resembling a _casino_, which at once
unites every accommodation that can be wished for in a coffee-house,
a tavern, or a confectioner's. Here you may breakfast _a l'Anglaise_
or _a la fourchette_, that is in the most substantial manner, in the
French fashion, read the papers, dine, or sup sumptuously in any
style you choose, or drink coffee and liqueurs, or merely eat ices.
While thus engaged, you enjoy a full view of the company passing and
repassing, and what adds beyond measure to the beauty of the scene,
is the presence of the ladies, who not unfrequently come hither with
their admirers to indulge in a _tete-a-tete_, or make larger parties
to dine or sup at these fashionable rendezvous of good cheer.
According to the scandalous chronicle, Very, the master of the house,
is indebted to the charms of his wife for the occupation of this
tasteful edifice, which had been erected by the government on a spot
of ground that was national property, and, of course, at its
disposal. Several candidates were desirous to be tenants of a
building at once so elegant and so centrical. Very himself had been
unsuccessful, though he had offered a _pot de vin_ (that is the
Parisian term for _good-will_) of five hundred louis, and six
thousand francs a year rent. His handsome wife even began to
apprehend that her mission would be attended with no better fortune.
She presented herself, however, to the then Minister of the Interior,
who, unrelenting as he had hitherto been to all the competitors, did
not happen to be a Scipio. On the contrary, he is said to have been
so struck by the person of the fair supplicant, that he at once
declared his readiness to accede to her request, on condition that
she would favour him with her company to supper, and not forget to
put her night-cap in her pocket. _Relata refero_.
Be this as it may, I assure you that Madame Very, without being a
perfect beauty, is what the French call a _beau corps de femme_, or,
in plain English, a very desirable woman, and such as few ministers
of L'n. B--------te's years would choose to dismiss unsatisfied. This
is not the age of continence, and I am persuaded that any man who
sees and converses with the amiable Madame Very, if he do not envy
the Minister the nocturnal sacrifice, will, on contemplating the
elegance of her arrangements, at least allow that this spot of ground
has not been disposed of to disadvantage.
Every step we take, in this quarter of Paris, calls to mind some
remarkable circumstance of the history of the revolution. As the
classic reader, in visiting _Troas_, would endeavour to trace the
site of those interesting scenes described in the sublime numbers of
the prince of poets; so the calm observer, in perambulating this
garden, cannot but reflect on the great political events of which it
has been the theatre. In front of the west facade of the palace, the
unfortunate Lewis XVI, reviewed the Swiss, and some of the national
guards, very early in the morning of the 10th of August 1792. On the
right, close to the _Terrasse des Feuillans_, still stands the
_manege_ or riding-house, where the National Assembly at that time
held their sittings, and whither the king, with his family, was
conducted by ROEDERER, the deputy. That building, after having since
served for various purposes, is at present shut up, and will,
probably, be taken down, in consequence of projected improvements in
In the centre of the west end of the garden, was the famous _Pont
tournant_, by which, on the 11th of July 1789, the Prince de Lambesc
entered it at the head of his regiment of cavalry, and, by
maltreating some peaceable saunterers, gave the Parisians a specimen
of what they were to expect from the disposition of the court. This
inconsiderate _galopade_, as the French term it, was the first signal
of the general insurrection.
The _Pont tournant_ is destroyed, and the ditch filled up. Leaving
the garden of the _Tuileries_ by this issue, we enter the
PLACE DE LA CONCORDE.
This is the new name given to the _Place de Louis XV_. After the
abolition of royalty in France, it was called the _Place de la
Revolution_. When the reign of terror ceased, by the fall of
Robespierre, it obtained its present appellation, which forms a
strong contrast to the number of victims that have here been
sacrificed to the demon of faction.
This square, which is seven hundred and eighty feet in length by six
hundred and thirty in breadth, was planned after the treaty of
Aix-la-Chapelle, and finished in 1763. It forms a parallelogram
with its angles cut off, which are surrounded by ditches, guarded by
balustrades, breast high. To repair from the _Tuileries_ to the
_Champs Elysees_, you cross it in a straight line from east to west,
and from north to south, to proceed from the _Rue de la Concorde
(ci-devant Rue Royale)_ to the _Pont de la Concorde (ci-devant
Pont de Louis XVI.)_
Near the intersection of these roads stood the equestrian statue in
bronze of Lewis XV, which caught the eye in a direct line with the
centre of the grand alley of the garden of the _Tuileries_. It has
since been replaced by a statue of Liberty. This colossal figure was
removed a few days ago, and, by all accounts, will not be re-erected.
The north part of this square, the only one that is occupied by
buildings, presents, on each side of the _Rue de la Concorde_, two
edifices, each two hundred and forty-eight feet in front, decorated
with insulated columns of the Corinthian order, to the number of
twelve, and terminated by two pavilions, with six columns, crowned by
a pediment. On the ground-floor of these edifices, one of which, that
next the _Tuileries_, was formerly the _Garde-Meuble de la Couronne_,
are arcades that form a gallery, in like manner as the colonnade
above, the cornice of which is surmounted by a balustrade. I have
been thus particular in describing this facade, in order to enable
you to judge of the charming effect which it must produce, when
illuminated with thousands of lamps on the occasion of the grand
_fete_ in honour of peace, which takes place to-morrow.
It was in the right hand corner of this square, as you come out of
the garden of the _Tuileries_ by the centre issue, that the terrible
guillotine was erected. From the window of a friend's room, where I
am now writing, I behold the very spot which has so often been
drenched with the mixed blood of princes, poets, legislators,
philosophers, and plebeians. On that spot too fell the head of one of
the most powerful monarchs in Europe.
I have heard much regret expressed respecting this execution; I have
witnessed much lamentation excited by it both in England and France;
but I question whether any of those loyal subjects, who deserted
their king when they saw him in danger, will ever manifest the
sincere affection, the poignant sensibility of DOMINIQUE SARREDE.
To follow Henry IV to the battle of Ivry in 1533, SARREDE had his
wounded leg cut off, in order that he might be enabled to sit on
horseback. This was not all. His attachment to his royal master was
so great, that, in passing through the _Rue de la Ferronnerie_ two
days after the assassination of that prince, and surveying the fatal
place where it had been committed, he was so overcome by grief, that
he fell almost dead on the spot, and actually expired the next
morning. I question, I say, whether any one of those emigrants, who
made so officious a display of their zeal, when they knew it to be
unavailing, will ever moisten with a single tear the small space of
earth stained with the blood of their unfortunate monarch.
Since I have been in Paris, I have met with a person of great
respectability, totally unconnected with politics, who was present at
several of those executions: at first he attended them from
curiosity, which soon degenerated into habit, and at last became an
occupation. He successively beheld the death of Charlotte Corday,
Madame Roland, Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, Madame Elizabeth,
Philippe Egalite, Madame du Barry, Danton, Robespierre, Couthon, St.
Just, Henriot, Fouquier-Tinville, _cum mullis aliis_, too numerous to
Among other particulars, this person informed me that Lewis XVI
struggled much, by which the fatal instrument cut through the back of
his head, and severed his jaw: the queen was more resigned; on the
scaffold, she even apologized to Samson, the executioner in chief,
for treading accidentally on his toe. Madame Roland met her fate with
the calm heroism of a Roman matron. Charlotte Corday died with a
serene and dignified countenance; one of the executioners having
seized her head when it fell, and given it several slaps, this base
act of cowardice raised a general murmur among the people.
As to Robespierre, no sooner had he ascended the scaffold, amid the
vociferous acclamations of the joyful multitude, than the executioner
tore off the dirty bandage in which his wounded head was enveloped
and which partlv concealed his pale and ferocious visage. This made
the wretch roar like a wild beast. His under jaw then falling from
the upper, and streams of blood gushing from the wound, gave him the
most ghastly appearance that can be imagined. When the national
razor, as the guillotine was called by his partisans, severed
Robespierre's head from his body; and the executioner, taking it by
the hair, held it up to the view of the spectators, the plaudits
lasted for twenty minutes. Couthon, St. Just, and Henriot, his
heralds of murder, who were placed in the same cart with himself,
next paid the debt of their crimes. They were much disfigured, and
the last had lost an eye. Twenty-two persons were guillotined at the
same time with Robespierre, all of them his satellites. The next day,
seventy members of the commune, and the day following twelve others,
shared the fate of their atrocious leader, who, not many hours
before, was styled the virtuous and incorruptible patriot.
You may, probably, imagine that, whatever dispatch might be employed,
the execution of seventy persons, would demand a rather considerable
portion of time, an hour and a half, or two hours, for instance. But,
how wide of the mark! Samson, the executioner of Paris, worked the
guillotine with such astonishing quickness, that, including the
preparatives of the punishment, he has been known to cut off no less
than forty-five heads, the one after the other, in the short space of
fifteen minutes; consequently, at this expeditious rate of three
heads in one minute it required no more than twenty-three minutes and
twenty seconds to decapitate seventy persons.
Guillotin, the physician, who invented or rather improved this
machine, which is called after his name with a feminine termination,
is said to have been a man of humanity; and, on that principle alone,
he recommended the use of it, from the idea of saving from painful
sensations criminals condemned to die. Seeing the abuse made of it,
from the facility which it afforded of dispatching several persons in
a few minutes, he took the circumstance so much to heart that grief
speedily shortened his existence.
According to Robespierre, however, the axe of the guillotine did not
do sufficient execution. One of his satellites announced to him the
invention of an instrument which struck off nine heads at once: the
discovery pleased him, and he caused several trials of this new
machine to be made at _Bicetre_. It did not answer; but human nature
gained nothing by its failure. Instead of half a dozen victims a day,
Robespierre wished to have daily fifty or sixty, or more; and he was
but too well obeyed. Not only had he his own private lists of
proscription; but all his creatures, from the president of the
revolutionary tribunal down to the under-jailers, had similar lists;
and the _almanac royal_, or French court calendar, was converted into
one by himself.
The inhabitants of the streets through which the unfortunate
sufferers were carried, wearied at length by the daily sight of so
melancholy a spectacle, ventured to utter complaints. Robespierre, no
less suspicious than cruel, was alarmed, and, dreading an
insurrection, removed the scene of slaughter. The scaffold was
erected on the _Place de la Bastille_: but the inhabitants of this
quarter also murmured, and the guillotine was transferred to the
_Barriere St. Antoine_.
Had not this modern Nero been cut off in the midst of his cruelties,
it is impossible to say where he would have stopped. Being one day
asked the question, he coolly answered: "The generation which has
witnessed the old _regime_, will always regret it. Every individual
who was more than fifteen in 1789, must be put to death: this is the
only way to consolidate the revolution."
It was the same in the departments as in Paris. Every where blood ran
in streams. In all the principal towns the guillotine was rendered
permanent, in order, as Robespierre expressed himself, to _regenerate
the nation_. If this sanguinary monster did not intend to "wade
through slaughter to a throne," it is certain at least that he "shut
the gates of mercy on mankind."
But what cannot fail to excite your astonishment and that of every
thinking person, is, that, in the midst of these executions, in the
midst of these convulsions of the state, in the midst of these
struggles for power, in the midst of these outcries against the
despots of the day, in the midst of famine even, not artificial, but
real; in short, in the midst of an accumulation of horrors almost
unexampled, the fiddle and tambourin never ceased. Galas, concerts,
and balls were given daily in incredible numbers; and no less than
from fifteen to twenty theatres, besides several, other places of
public entertainment, were constantly open, and almost as constantly
P. S. I am this moment informed of the arrival of Lord Cornwallis.
[Footnote 1: The ratio between the English fathom and the French
toise, as determined between the first astronomers of both countries,
is as 72 to 76.734.]
_Paris, November 10, 1801._
On the evening of the 8th, there was a representation _gratis_ at all
the theatres, it being the eve of the great day, of the occurrences
of which I shall now, agreeably to my promise, endeavour to give you
a narrative. I mean the
IN HONOUR OF PEACE,
_Celebrated on the 18th of Brumaire, year X_,
_the anniversary of_ BONAPARTE'S
_accession to the consulate_.
Notwithstanding the prayers which the Parisians had addressed to the
sun for the preceding twenty-four hours,
"----_Nocte pluit tota, redeunt spectacula mane_,"
it rained all night, and was still raining yesterday morning, when
the day was ushered in by discharges of artillery from the saluting
battery at the _Hotel des Invalides_. This did not disturb me; I
slept soundly till, about eight o'clock, a tintamarre of trumpets,
kettle-drums, &c. almost directly under my window, roused me from my
peaceful slumber. For fear of losing the sight, I immediately
presented myself at the casement, just as I rose, in my shirt and
night-cap. The officers of the police, headed by the Prefect, and
escorted by a party of dragoons, came to the _Place des Victoires_,
as the third station, to give publicity, by word of mouth, to the
Proclamation of the Consuls, of which I inclose you a printed copy.
The civil officers were habited in their dresses of parade, and
decorated with tricoloured sashes; the heads of their steeds, which,
by the bye, were not of a fiery, mettlesome race, being adorned in
This ceremony being over, I returned not to bed, but sat down to a
substantial breakfast, which I considered necessary for preparing my
strength for the great fatigues of so busy a day. Presently the
streets were crowded with people moving towards the river-side,
though small, but heavy rain continued falling all the forenoon. I
therefore remained at home, knowing that there was nothing yet to be
seen for which it was worth while to expose myself to a good wetting.
At two o'clock the sun appeared, as if to satisfy the eager desire of
the Parisians; the mist ceased, and the weather assumed a promising
aspect. In a moment the crowd in the streets was augmented by a
number of persons who had till now kept within doors, in readiness to
go out, like the Jews keeping Easter, _cincti renibus & comedentes
festinantur_. I also sallied forth, but alone, having previously
refused every invitation from my friends and acquaintance to place
myself at any window, or join any party, conceiving that the best
mode to follow the bent of my humour was to go unaccompanied, and,
not confining myself to any particular spot or person, stroll about
wherever the most interesting objects presented themselves.
With this view, I directed my steps towards the _Tuileries_, which,
in spite of the immense crowd, I reached without the smallest
inconvenience. The appearance of carriages of every kind had been
strictly prohibited, with the exception of those belonging to the
British ambassador; a compliment well intended, no doubt, and very
gratifying when the streets were so extremely dirty.
For some time I amused myself with surveying the different
countenances of the groups within immediate reach of my observation,
and which to me was by no means the least diverting part of the
scene; but on few of them could I discover any other impression than
that of curiosity: I then took my station in the garden of the
_Tuileries_, on the terrace next the river. Hence was a view of the
_Temple of Commerce_ rising above the water, on that part of the
Seine comprised between the _Pont National_ and the _Pont Neuf_. The
quays on each side were full of people; and the windows, as well as
the roofs of all the neighbouring houses, were crowded beyond
conception. In the newspapers, the sum of 500 francs, or L20
sterling, was asked for the hire of a single window of a house in
Previously to my arrival, a flotilla of boats, decked with streamers
and flags of different colours, had ascended the river from
_Chaillot_ to this temple, and were executing divers evolutions
around it, for the entertainment of the Parisians, who quite drowned
the music by their more noisy acclamations.
About half after three, the First Consul appeared at one of the
windows of the apartments of the Third Consul, LEBRUN, which, being
situated in the _Pavillon de Flore_, as it is called, at the south
end of the palace of the _Tuileries_, command a complete view of the
river. He and LEBRUN were both dressed in their consular uniform.
In a few minutes, a balloon, previously prepared at this floating
_Temple of Commerce_, and adorned with the flags of different
nations, ascended thence with majestic slowness, and presently took
an almost horizontal direction to the south-west. In the car attached
to it were Garnerin, the celebrated aeronaut, his wife, and two other
persons, who kept waving their tricoloured flags, but were soon under
the necessity of putting them away for a moment, and getting rid of
some of their ballast, in order to clear the steeples and other lofty
objects which appeared to lie in their route. The balloon, thus
lightened, rose above the grosser part of the atmosphere, but with
such little velocity as to afford the most gratifying spectacle to an
immense number of spectators.
While following it with my eyes, I began to draw comparisons in my
mind, and reflect on the rapid improvement made in these machines,
since I had seen Blanchard and his friend, Dr. Jefferies, leave Dover
Cliff in January 1785. They landed safely within a short distance of
Calais, as every one knows: yet few persons then conceived it
possible, or at least probable, that balloons could ever be applied
to any useful purpose, still less to the art of war. We find,
however, that at the battle of Fleurus, where the Austrians were
defeated, Jourdan, the French General, was not a little indebted for
his victory to the intelligence given him of the enemy's dispositions
by his aeronautic reconnoitring-party.
The sagacious Franklin seems to have had a presentiment of the future
utility of this invention. On the first experiments being made of it,
some one asked him: "Of what use are balloons?"--"Of what use is a
new-born child!" was the philosopher's answer.
Garnerin and his fellow-travellers being now at such a distance as
not to interest an observer unprovided with a telespope, I thought it
most prudent to gratify that ever-returning desire, which, according
to Dr. Johnson, excites once a day a serious idea in the mind even of
the most thoughtless. I accordingly retired to my own apartments,
where I had taken care that dinner should be provided for myself and
a friend, who, assenting to the propriety of allowing every man the
indulgence of his own caprice, had, like me, been taking a stroll
alone among the innumerable multitude of Paris.
After dinner, my friend and I sat chatting over our dessert, in order
that we might not arrive too soon at the scene of action. At six,
however, we rose from table, and separated. I immediately proceeded
to the _Tuileries_, which I entered by the centre gate of the _Place
du Carrousel_. The whole facade of the palace, from the base of the
lowest pillars up to the very turrets of the pavilions, comprising
the entablatures, &c. was decorated with thousands of _lampions_,
whence issued a steady, glaring light. By way of parenthesis, I must
inform you that these _lampions_ are nothing more than little
circular earthen pans, somewhat resembling those which are used in
England as receptacles for small flower-pots. They are not filled
with oil, but with a substance prepared from the offals of oxen and
in which a thick wick is previously placed. Although the body of
light proceeding from _lampions_ of this description braves the
weather, yet the smoke which they produce, is no inconsiderable
drawback on the effect of their splendour.
Nothing could exceed the brilliancy of the _coup d'oeil_ from the
vestibule of the palace of the _Tuileries_. The grand alley, as well
as the end of the parterre on each side and the edges of the basins,
was illuminated in a style equally tasteful and splendid. The
frame-work on which the lamps were disposed by millions, represented
lofty arcades of elegant proportion, with their several pillars,
cornices, and other suitable ornaments. The eye, astonished, though
not dazzled, penetrated through the garden, and, directed by this
avenue of light, embraced a view of the temporary obelisk erected
on the ridge of the gradual ascent, where stands the _Barriere de
Chaillot_; the road on each side of the _Champs Elysees_ presenting
an illuminated perspective, whose vanishing point was the obelisk
After loitering a short time to contemplate the west facade of the
palace, which, excelling that of the east in the richness of its
architecture, also excelled it in the splendour of its illuminations,
I advanced along the centre or grand alley to the _Place de la
Concorde_. Here, rose three _Temples_ of correct design and beautiful
symmetry, the most spacious of which, placed in the centre, was
dedicated to _Peace_, that on the right hand to the _Arts_, and that
on the left to _Industry_.
In front of these temples, was erected an extensive platform, about
five feet above the level of the ground, on which was exhibited a
pantomime, representing, as I was informed, the horrors of war
succeeded by the blessings of peace. Though I arrived in time to have
seen at least a part of it, I saw nothing, except the back of the
spectators immediately before me, and others, mounted on chairs and
benches, some of whom seemed to consider themselves fortunate if they
recovered their legs, when they came now and then to the ground, by
losing their equilibrium. These little accidents diverted me for the
moment; but a misadventure of a truly-comic nature afforded me more
entertainment than any pantomime I ever beheld, and amply consoled me
for being thus confined to the back-ground.
A lusty young Frenchman, who, from his head-dress _a la Titus_, I
shall distinguish by that name, escorting a lady whom, on account of
her beautiful hair, I shall style _Berenice_, stood on one of the
hindmost benches. The belle, habited in a tunic _a la Grecque_, with
a species of sandals which displayed the elegant form of her leg, was
unfortunately not of a stature sufficiently commanding to see over
the heads of the other spectators. It was to no purpose that the
gentleman called out "_a bas les chapeaux!_" When the hats were off,
the lady still saw no better. What will not gallantry suggest to a
man of fashionable education? Our considerate youth perceived, at no
great distance, some persons standing on a plank supported by a
couple of casks. Confiding the fair _Berenice_ to my care, he
vanished: but, almost in an, instant, he reappeared, followed by two
men, bearing an empty hogshead, which, it seems, he procured from the
tavern at the west entrance of the _Tuileries_. To place the cask
near the feet of the lady, pay for it, and fix her on it, was the
business of a moment. Here then she was, like a statue on its
pedestal, enjoying the double gratification of seeing and being seen.
But, for enjoyment to be complete, we must share it with those we
love. On examining the space where she stood, the lady saw there was
room for two, and accordingly invited the gentleman to place himself
beside her. In vain he resisted her entreaties; in vain he feared to
incommode her. She commanded; he could do no less than obey. Stepping
up on the bench, he thence nimbly sprang to the cask; but, O! fatal
catastrophe! while, by the light of the neighbouring clusters of
lamps, every one around was admiring the mutual attention of this
sympathizing pair, in went the head of the hogshead.
Our till-then-envied couple fell suddenly up to the middle of the leg
in the wine-lees left in the cask, by which they were bespattered up
to their very eyes. Nor was this all: being too eager to extricate
themselves, they overset the cask, and came to the ground, rolling in
it and its offensive contents. It would be no easy matter to picture
the ludicrous situation of Citizen _Titus_ and Madame _Berenice_.
This being the only mischief resulting from their fall, a universal
burst of laughter seized the surrounding spectators, in which I took
so considerable a share, that I could not immediately afford my
_Paris, November 11, 1801._
What fortunate people are the Parisians! Yesterday evening so thick a
fog came on, all at once, that it was almost impossible to discern
the lamps in the streets, even when they were directly over-head. Had
the fog occurred twenty-four hours earlier, the effect of the
illuminations would have been entirely lost; and the blind would have
had the advantage over the clear-sighted. This assertion experience
has proved: for, some years ago, when there was, for several
successive days, a duration of such fogs in Paris, it was found
necessary, by persons who had business to transact out of doors, to
hire the blind men belonging to the hospital of the _Quinze-Vingts_,
to lead them about the streets. These guides, who were well
acquainted with the topography of the capital, were paid by the hour,
and sometimes, in the course of the day, each of them cleared five
Last night, persons in carriages, were compelled to alight, and grope
their way home as they could: in this manner, after first carefully
ascertaining where I was, and keeping quite close to the wall, I
reached my lodgings in safety, in spite of numberless interrogations
put to me by people who had, or pretended to have, lost themselves.
When I was interrupted in my account of the _fete_, we were, if I
mistake not, on the _Place de la Concorde_.
Notwithstanding the many loads of small gravel scattered here, with a
view of keeping the place clean, the quantity of mud collected in the
space of a few hours was really astonishing. _N'importe_ was the
word. No fine lady, by whatever motive she was attracted hither,
regretted at the moment being up to her ankles in dirt, or having the
skirt of her dress bemired. All was busy curiosity, governed by
For my part, I never experienced the smallest uncomfortable squeeze,
except, indeed, at the conclusion of the pantomime, when the
impatient crowd rushed forward, and, regardless of the fixed bayonets
of the guards in possession of the platform, carried it by storm.
Impelled by the torrent, I fortunately happened to be nearly in front
of the steps, and, in a few seconds, I found, myself safely landed on
The guard now receiving a seasonable reinforcement, order was
presently restored without bloodshed; and, though several persons
were under the necessity of making a retrograde movement, on my
declaring that I was an Englishman, I was suffered to retain my
elevated position, till the musicians composing the orchestras,
appropriated to each of the three temples, had taken their stations.
Admittance then became general, and the temples were presently so
crowded that the dancers had much difficulty to find room to perform
Good-humour and decorum, however, prevailed to such a degree that,
during the number, of hours I mixed in the crowd, I witnessed not the
Between nine and ten o'clock, I went to the _Pont de la Concorde_ to
view the fireworks played off from the _Temple of Commerce_ on the
river; but these were, as I understand, of a description far inferior
to those exhibited at the last National Fete of the 14th of July, the
anniversary of the taking of the Bastille.
This inferiority is attributed to the precaution dictated, by the
higher authorities, to the authors of the fireworks to limit their
ingenuity; as, on the former occasion, some accidents occurred of a
rather serious nature. The spectators, in general, appeared to me to
be disappointed by the mediocrity of the present exhibition.
I was compensated for the disappointment by the effect of the
illumination of the quays, which, being faced with stone, form a
lofty rampart on each embankment of the river. These were decorated
with several tiers of lamps from the top of the parapet to the
water's edge; the parapets and cornices of the bridges, together with
the circumference of the arches, were likewise illuminated, as well
as the gallery of the _Louvre_, and the stately buildings adjoining
The palace of the Legislative Body, which faces the south end of the
_Pont de la Concorde_, formed a striking object, being adorned, in a
magnificent style, with variegated lamps and transparencies. No less
splendid, and in some respects more so, from the extent that it
presented, was the facade of the _ci-devant Garde-Meuble_, and the
corresponding buildings, which form the north side of the _Place de
la Concorde_, whither I now returned.
The effect of the latter was beautiful, as you may judge from the
description which I have already given you of this facade, in one of
my preceding letters. Let it suffice then to say, that, from the base
of the lower pillars to the upper cornice, it was covered with lamps
so arranged as to exhibit, in the most brilliant manner, the style
and richness of its architecture.
The crowd, having now been attracted in various directions, became
more penetrable; and, in regaining the platform on the _Place de la
Concorde_, I had a full view of the turrets, battlements, &c. erected
behind the three temples, in which the skilful machinist had so
combined his plan, by introducing into it a sight of the famous
horses brought from _Marly_, and now occupying the entrance of the
_Champs Elysees_, that these beautiful marble representations of that
noble animal seemed placed here on purpose to embellish his scenery.
Finding myself chilled by standing so many hours exposed to the
dampness of a November night, I returned to the warmer atmosphere of
the temples, in order to take a farewell view of the dancers. The
scene was truly picturesque, the male part of the groups being
chiefly composed of journeymen of various trades, and the females
consisting of a ludicrous medley of all classes; but it required no
extraordinary penetration to perceive, that, with the exception of a
few particular attachments, the military bore the bell, and, all
things considered, this was no more than justice. Independently of
being the best dancers, after gaining the laurels of victory in the
hard-fought field, who can deny that they deserved the prize of
The dancing was kept up with the never-flagging vivacity peculiar to
this nation, and, as I conclude, so continued till a very late hour
in the morning. At half past eleven I withdrew, with a friend whom I
chanced to meet, to Very's, the famous _restaurateur's_ in the
_Tuileries_, where we supped. On comparing notes, I found that I had
been more fortunate than he, in beholding to advantage all the sights
of the day: though it was meant to be a day of jubilee, yet it was
far from being productive of that mirth or gaiety which I expected.
The excessive dearness of a few articles of the first necessity may,
probably, be one cause of this gloom among the people. Bread, the
staff of life, (as it may be justly termed in France, where a much
greater proportion is, in general, consumed than in any other
country,) is now at the enormous price of eighteen _sous_ (nine-pence
sterling) for the loaf of four pounds. Besides, the Parisians have
gone through so much during the revolution, that I apprehend they
are, to a certain degree, become callous to the spontaneous
sensations of joy and pleasure. Be the cause what it may, I am
positively assured that the people expressed not so much hilarity at
this fete as at the last, I mean that of the 14th of July.
In my way home, I remarked that few houses were illuminated, except
those of the rich in the streets which are great thorough-fares.
People here, in general, I suppose, consider themselves dispensed
from lighting up their private residence from the consideration that
they collectively contribute to the public illumination, the expenses
of which are defrayed by the government out of the national coffers.
Several songs have been composed and published in commemoration of
this joyful event. Among those that have fallen under my notice, I
have selected the following, of which our friend M---s, with his
usual facility and taste, will, I dare say, furnish you an imitation.
_Pour la paix._
Air: _de la Marche Triomphante_.
_"Reviens pour consoler la terre,
Aimable Paix, descends des cieux,
Depuis assez long-tems la guerre
Afflige un peuple genereux,
Ah! quell' aurore pure & calme
S'offre a nos regards satisfaits!
Nous obtenons la double paline
De la victoire & de la paix._ bis.
_"Disparaissez tristes images,
D'un tems malheureux qui n'est plus,
Nous reparerons nos dommages
Par la sagesse & les vertus.
Que la paix enfin nous rallie!
Plus d'ingrats ni de mecontens,
O triomphe de la patrie!
Plus de Francais indifferens._ bis.
_"Revenez phalanges guerrieres,
Heros vengeurs de mon pays,
Au sein d'une epouse, d'un pere,
De vos parens, de vos amis,
Revenez dans votre patrie
Apres tant d'effrayans hazards,
Trouver ce qui charme la vie,
L'amitie, l'amour, et les arts._ bis.
_"Oh! vous qui, sous des catacombes,
Etes couches au champ d'honneur,
Nos yeux sont fixes sur vos tombes,
En chantant l'hymne du vainqueur,
Nous transmettrons votre memoire
Jusqu' aux siecles a venir,
Avec le burin de l'histoire,
Et les larmes du souvenir."_ bis.
SONG OF JOY,
_In honor of peace._
Imitated from the French.
To the same tune: _de la Marche Triomphante._
Come, lovely Peace, from heav'n descending,
Thy presence earth at length shall grace;
Those terrible afflictions ending,
That long have griev'd a gen'rous race:
We see Aurora rise refulgent;
Serene she comes to bless our sight;
While Fortune to our hopes indulgent,
Bids victory and peace unite.
Be gone, ye dark imaginations,
Remembrances of horrors past:
Virtue's and Wisdom's reparations
Shall soon be made, and ever last.
Now peace to happiness invites us;
The bliss of peace is understood:
With love fraternal peace delights us,
Our private ease, and country's good.
Re-enter, sons of war, your houses;
Heroic deeds for peace resign:
Embrace your parents and your spouses,
And all to whom your hearts incline:
Behold your countrymen invite you,
With open, arms, with open hearts;
Here find whatever can delight you;
Here friendship, love, and lib'ral arts.
Departed heroes, crown'd with glory,
While you are laid in Honour's bed,
Sad o'er your tombs we'll sing the story,
How Gallia's warriors fought and bled:
And, proud to shew to future ages
The claims to patriot valour due,
We'll vaunt, in our historic pages,
The debt immense we owe to you.
_Paris, November 13, 1801._
Enriched, as this capital now is, with the spoils of Greece and
Italy, it may literally be termed the repository of the greatest
curiosities existing. In the CENTRAL MUSEUM are collected all the
prodigies of the fine arts, and, day after day, you may enjoy the
sight of these wonders.
I know not whether you are satisfied with the abridged account I gave
you of the GALLERY OF ANTIQUES; but, on the presumption that you did
not expect from me a description of every work of sculpture contained
in it, I called your attention to the most pre-eminent only; and I
shall now pursue the same plan, respecting the master-pieces of
painting exhibited in the great
GALLERY OF THE LOUVRE
This gallery, which is thirteen hundred and sixty-five feet in length
by thirty in breadth, runs north and south all along the quays of the
river Seine, and joins the _Louvre_ to the palace of the _Tuileries_.
It was begun by Charles IX, carried as far as the first wicket by
Henry IV, to the second by Lewis XIII, and terminated by Lewis XIV.
One half, beginning from a narrow strip of ground, called the _Jardin
de l'Infante_, is decorated externally with large pilasters of the
Composite order, which run from top to bottom, and with pediments
alternately triangular and elliptical, the tympanums of which, both
on the side of the _Louvre_, and towards the river, are charged with
emblems of the Arts and Sciences. The other part is ornamented with
coupled pilasters, charged with vermiculated rustics, and other
embellishments of highly-finished workmanship.
In the inside of this gallery are disposed the _chefs d'oeuvre_ of
all the great masters of the Italian, Flemish, and French schools.
The pictures, particularly the historical ones, are hung according to
the chronological order of the painters' birth, in different
compartments, the number of which, at the present period, amounts to
fifty-seven; and the productions of each school and of each master
are as much as possible assembled; a method which affords the
advantage of easily comparing one school to another, one master to
another, and a master to himself. If the chronology of past ages be
considered as a book from which instruction is to be imbibed, the
propriety of such a classification requires no eulogium. From the
pictures being arranged chronologically, the GALLERY OF THE LOUVRE
becomes a sort of dictionary, in which may be traced every degree of
improvement or decline that the art of painting has successively
The entrance to the great GALLERY OF PAINTINGS is precisely the same
as that to the GALLERY OF ANTIQUES. After ascending a noble stone
stair-case, and turning to the left, you reach the
SALOON OF THE LOUVRE.
This apartment, which serves as a sort of antichamber to the great
Gallery, is, at the present moment, appropriated to the annual
monthly exhibition of the productions of living painters, sculptors,
architects, engravers, and draughtsmen. Of these modern works, I
shall, perhaps, speak on a future occasion. But, in the course of a
few days, they will give place to several master-pieces of the
Italian School, some of which were under indispensable repair, when
the others were arranged in the great Gallery.
It would be no easy task to express the various sentiments which take
possession of the mind of the lover of the arts, when, for the first
time, he enters this splendid repository. By frequent visits,
however, the imagination becomes somewhat less distracted, and the
judgment, by degrees, begins to collect itself. Although I am not,
like you, conversant in the Fine Arts, would you tax me with
arrogance, were I to presume to pass an opinion on some of the
pictures comprised in this matchless collection?
Painting being a representation of nature, every spectator, according
to the justness of his ideas, may form an opinion how far the
representation is happily pourtrayed, and in beholding it, experience
a proportionate degree of pleasure: but how different the sensations
of him who, combining all the requisites of a connoisseur,
contemplates the composition of a masterly genius! In tracing the
merits of such a production, his admiration gradually becomes
inflamed, as his eye strays from beauty to beauty.
In painting or sculpture, beauty, as you well know, is either
natural, or generally admitted: the latter depends on the perfection
of the performance, on certain rules established, and principles
settled. This is what is termed _ideal_ beauty, which is frequently
not within the reach of the vulgar; and the merit of which may be
lost on him who has not learned to know and appreciate it. Thus, one
of the finest pictures, ever conceived and executed by man, might
not, perhaps, make an impression on many spectators. Natural beauty,
on the contrary, is a true imitation of nature: its effect is
striking and general, so that it stands not in need of being pointed
out, but is felt and admired by all.
Notwithstanding this truth, be assured that I should never, of my own
accord, have ventured to pronounce on the various degrees of merit of
so many _chefs d'oeuvre_, which all at once solicit attention. This
would require a depth of knowledge, a superiority of judgment, a
nicety of discrimination, a fund of taste, a maturity of experience,
to none of which have I any pretension. The greatest masters, who
have excelled in a particular branch, have sometimes given to the
world indifferent productions; while artists of moderate abilities
have sometimes produced master-pieces far above their general
standard. In a picture, which may, on the whole, merit the
appellation of a _chef d'oeuvre_, are sometimes to be found beauties
which render it superior, negligences which border on the
indifferent, and defects which constitute the bad. Genius has its
flights and deviations; talent, its successes, attempts, and faults;
and mediocrity even, its flashes and chances.
Whatever some persons may affect, a true knowledge of the art of
painting is by no means an easy acquirement; it is not a natural
gift, but demands much reading and study. Many there are, no doubt,
who may be able to descant speciously enough, perhaps, on the
perfections and defects of a picture; but, on that account alone,
they are not to be regarded as real judges of its intrinsic merit.
Know then, that, in selecting the most remarkable productions among
the vast number exhibited in the CENTRAL MUSEUM, I have had the good
fortune to be directed by the same first-rate connoisseur who was so
obliging as to fix my choice in the GALLERY OF ANTIQUES. I mean M.
Not confining myself either to alphabetical or chronological order, I
shall proceed to point out to you such pictures of each school as
claim particular notice.
N. B. _Those pictures to which no number is prefixed, are not yet
N deg. 55. (Saloon.) _The Virgin and Child, &c._ commonly known by the
name of the _Madonna di Foligno_.
This is one of the master-pieces of RAPHAEL for vigour of colouring,
and for the beauty of the heads and of the child. It is in his second
manner; although his third is more perfect, seldom are the pictures
of this last period entirely executed by himself. This picture was
originally painted on pannel, and was in such a lamentable state of
decay, that doubts arose whether it could safely be conveyed from
Italy. It has been recently transferred to canvass, and now appears
as fresh and as vivid, as if, instead of a lapse of three centuries,
three years only had passed since it was painted. Never was an
operation of the like nature performed in so masterly a manner. The
process was attended by a Committee of the National Institute,
appointed at the particular request of the Administration of the
Museum. The _Madonna di Foligno_ is to be engraved from a drawing
taken by that able draughtsman DU TERTRE.
N deg. ( ) _The Holy Family_.
This valuable picture of RAPHAEL'S third manner is one of the most
perfect that ever came from his pencil. It belonged to the old
collection of the crown, and is engraved by EDELINCK. Although
superior to the _Madonna di Foligno_ as to style and composition, it
is inferior in the representation of the child, and in vigour of
N deg. ( ) _The Transfiguration of Christ on Mount Tabor._
This is the last production of RAPHAEL, and his most admirable _chef
d'oeuvre_ as to composition and grace of the contours in all its
figures. It is not yet exhibited, but will be shortly. This picture
is in perfect preservation, and requires only to be cleaned from a
coat of dust and smoke which has been accumulating on it for three
centuries, during which it graced the great altar of St. Peter's
church at Rome.
Among the portraits by RAPHAEL, the most surprising are:
N deg. 58. (Saloon.) _Baltazzare Castiglione_, a celebrated writer in
Italian and Latin.
N deg. ( ) _Leo X._
Every thing that RAPHAEL'S pencil has produced is in the first order.
That master has something greatly superior in his manner: he really
appears as a god among painters. Addison seems to have been impressed
with the truth of this sentiment, when he thus expresses himself:
"Fain would I RAPHAEL'S godlike art rehearse,
And shew th' immortal labours in my verse,
When from the mingled strength of shade and light,
A new creation rises, to my sight:
Such heav'nly figures from his pencil flow,
So warm with life his blended colours glow,
From theme to theme with secret pleasure lost,
Amidst the soft variety I'm lost."
LEONARDO DA VINCI.
There are several pictures by this master in the present exhibition;
but you may look here in vain for the portrait of _La Gioconda_,
which he employed four years in painting, and in which he has
imitated nature so closely, that, as a well-known author has
observed, "the eyes have all the lustre of life, the hairs of the eye
brows and lids seem real, and even the pores of the skin are
This celebrated picture is now removed to the palace of the
_Tuileries_; but the following one, which remains, is an admirable
N deg. ( ) _Portrait of Charles VIII._
N deg. 28. (Saloon.) _St. Mark the Evangelist_.
N deg. 29. (Saloon.) _The Saviour of the world_.
These two pictures, which were in the _Pitti_ palace at Florence,
give the idea of the most noble simplicity, and of no common taste in
the distribution of the lights and shades.
N deg. 35. (Saloon.) _The Circumcision_.
This picture belonged to the old collection of the crown. The figures
in it are about a foot and a half in height. It is a real _chef
d'oeuvre_, and has all the grace of the antique bas-reliefs.
N deg. 69. (Saloon.) _The Martyrdom of St. Peter_.
This large picture, which presents a grand composition in colossal
figures, with a country of extraordinary beauty in the back-ground,
is considered as the _chef d'oeuvre_ of TITIAN. It was painted on
pannel; but, having undergone the same operation as the _Madonna di
Foligno_, is now placed on canvass, and is in such a state as to
claim the admiration of succeeding ages.
N deg. 74. (Saloon.) _The Portraits of Titian and his mistress._
70. (Saloon.) _Portrait of the Marquis del Guasto with some
Both these pictures belonged to the old collection of the crown, and
are to be admired for grace and beauty.
N deg. 940. (Gallery.) _Christ crowned with thorns_.
941. (Gallery.) _Christ carried to the grave_.
There is a wonderful vigour of colouring in these two capital
The preceding are the most admirable of the productions which are at
present exhibited of this inimitable master, the first of painters
for truth of colouring.
N deg. 753. (Gallery.) _The Virgin, the infant Jesus, Mary Magdalen,
and St. Jerome._
This picture, commonly distinguished by the appellation of the _St.
Jerome_ of CORREGGIO, is undoubtedly his _chef d'oeuvre_. In the year
1749, the king of Portugal is said to have offered for it a sum equal
in value to L18,000 sterling.
N deg. 756. (Gallery.) _The Marriage of St. Catherine_.
757. (Gallery.) _Christ taken down from the cross_.
This last-mentioned picture has just been engraved in an excellent
manner by an Italian artist, M. ROSA-SPINA.
The grace of his pencil and his _chiaro oscuro_ place CORREGGIO in
the first class of painters, where he ranks the third after RAPHAEL
and TITIAN. He is inferior to them in design and composition; however
the scarceness of his pictures frequently gives them a superior
value. Poor CORREGGIO! It grieves one to recollect that he lost his
life, in consequence of the fatigue of staggering home under a load
of _copper_ coin, which avaricious monks had given him for pictures
now become so valuable that they are not to be purchased for their
weight, even in _gold_.
No collection is so rich in pictures of CORREGGIO as that of the
N deg. 44. (Saloon.) _The Wedding at Cana_.
45. (Saloon.) _The Repast at the house of Levi_.
51. (Saloon.) _The Pilgrims of Emmaues_.
These are astonishing compositions for their vast extent, the number
and beauty of the figures and portraits, and the variety and truth of
the colouring. Nothing in painting can be richer.
ANDREA DEL SARTO.
N deg. 4. (Saloon.) _Christ taken down from the cross_.
ANDREA SQUAZZELLI (his pupil.)
N deg. ( ) _Christ laid in the tomb_.
This capital picture is not in the catalogue.
GIORGIONE DEL CASTEL-FRANCO.
N deg. 32. (Saloon.) _A Concert containing three portraits_.
This master-piece is worthy of TITIAN.
N deg. 33 (Saloon.) _St. Petronilla_.
This large picture was executed for St. Peter's church in the
Vatican, where it was replaced by a copy in Mosaic, on being removed
to the pontificate palace of Monte Cavallo, at Rome.
In the great Gallery are exhibited no less than twenty-three pictures
by GUERCINO: but to speak the truth, though, in looking at some of
his productions, he appears an extremely agreeable painter, as soon
as you see a number of them, you can no longer bear him. This is what
happens to _mannerists_. The dark shades at first astonish you,
afterwards they disgust you.
N deg. 65. (Saloon.) _St. Remuald_.
This picture was always one of the most esteemed of those in the
churches at Rome. It was the altar-piece of the church of St. Remuald
in that city.
N deg. 676. (Gallery.) _Fire._
In the Gallery are twenty-nine pictures of this master, and all of
them graceful; but the preceding four, representing the elements,
which were taken from the royal Cabinet of Turin, are the most
N deg. 686. (Gallery.) _The Virgin, St Anthony, and St. Lucia._
688. _St. Michaelina._
These are the best pictures of BAROCCIO already exhibited. His
colouring is enchanting. It is entirely transparent and seems as if
impregnated with light: however, his forms, and every thing else,
bespeak the _mannerist_.
N deg. 721. (Gallery.) _Christ dead on the knees of the Virgin._
723. _The Resurrection of Christ._
728. _The Nativity of Christ._
730. _Christ laid in the tomb._
Of the CARRACCI, ANNIBALE is the most perfect. He is also remarkable
for the different manners which he has displayed in his works. They
appear to be by two or three different painters. Of more than twenty
in the Gallery, the above are the best of his productions.
MICHAEL ANGELO DA CARAVAGGIO.
N deg. 744. (Gallery.) _Christ laid in the tomb._
This wonderful picture, which was brought from Rome, is, for vigour
of execution and truth of colouring, superior to all the others by
the same master. Every one of his works bears the stamp of a great
N deg. 763. (Gallery.) _The Communion of St. Jerome._
This picture, the master-piece of DOMENICHICO, comes from the great
altar of the church of _San Geronimo della Carita_, at Rome. It will
appear incredible that for a work of such importance, which cost him
so much time, study, and labour, he received no more than the sum of
about L10 sterling.
N deg. 769. (Gallery.) _St. Cecilia_.
This capital performance is now removed to the drawing-room of the
First Consul, in the palace of the _Tuileries_.
After RAPHAEL, DOMENICHINO is one of the most perfect masters; and
his _St. Jerome_, together with RAPHAEL'S Transfiguration, are
reckoned among the most famous _chefs d'oeuvre_ of the art of
N deg. 797. (Gallery.) _The Crucifixion of St. Peter_.
These are the finest of the twenty pictures by that master, now
exhibited in the CENTRAL MUSEUM. They both came from Rome; the
former, from the Vatican; the latter, from the Capitol.
GUIDO is a noble and graceful painter; but, in general, he betrays a
certain negligence in the execution of several parts.
N deg. 860. (Gallery.) _The Holy Family_.
In this picture, LUINI has fallen little short of his master,
LEONARDO DA VINCI.
N deg. 896. (Gallery.) _The Daughter of Herodias receiving the head of
SOLARIO is another worthy pupil of LEONARDO. This very capital
picture belonged to the collection of the crown, and was purchased by
PIERUNO DEL VAGA.
N deg. 928. (Gallery.) _The Muses challenged by the Pierides_.
An excellent picture from Versailles.
N deg. 929. (Gallery.) _The Virgin discovering the infant Jesus
A remarkably fine production.
SEBASTIANO DEL PIOMBO.
N deg. ( ) _Portrait of the young sculptor, Baccio Bomdinelli_.
This picture is worthy of the pencil of RAPHAEL. It is not yet
PIETRO DA CORTONA.
N deg. 52. (Saloon.) _The Birth of the Virgin_.
53. _Remus and Romulus_.
These are the finest pictures in the collection by this master.
We have now noticed the best productions of the Italian School: in
our next visit to the CENTRAL MUSEUM, I shall point out the most
distinguished pictures of the French and Flemish Schools.
P. S. Lord Cornwallis is sumptuously entertained here, all the
ministers giving him a grand dinner, each in rotation. After having
viewed the curiosities of Paris, he will, in about a fortnight,
proceed to the congress at Amiens. On his Lordship's arrival, I
thought it my duty to leave my name at his hotel, and was most
agreeably surprised to meet with a very old acquaintance in his
military Secretary, Lieut. Col. L--------s. For any of the
ambassador's further proceedings, I refer you to the English
newspapers, which seem to anticipate all his movements.
_Paris, November 15, 1801._
The more frequently I visit the CENTRAL MUSEUM OF THE ARTS, the more
am I inclined to think that such a vast number of pictures, suspended
together, lessen each other's effect. This is the first idea which
now presents itself to me, whenever I enter the
GALLERY OF THE LOUVRE.
Were this collection rendered apparently less numerous by being
subdivided into different apartments, the eye would certainly be less
dazzled than it is, at present, by an assemblage of so many various
objects, which, though arranged as judiciously as possible, somehow
convey to the mind an image of confusion. The consequence is that
attention flags, and no single picture is seen to advantage, because
so many are seen together.
In proportion as the lover of the arts becomes more familiarized with
the choicest productions of the pencil, he perceives that there are
few pictures, if any, really faultless. In some, he finds beauties,
which are general, or forming, as it were, a whole, and producing a
general effect; in others, he meets with particular or detached
beauties, whose effect is partial: assembled, they constitute the
beautiful: insulated, they have a merit which the amateur
appreciates, and the artist ought to study. General or congregated
beauties always arise from genius and talent: particular or detached
beauties belong to study, to labour, that is, to the _nulla die sine
linea_ and sometimes solely to chance, as is exemplified in the old
story of Protogenes, the celebrated Rhodian painter.
To discover some of these beauties, requires no extraordinary
discernment; a person of common observation might decide whether the
froth at the mouth of an animal, panting for breath, was naturally
represented: but a spectator, possessing a cultivated and refined
taste, minutely surveys every part of a picture, examines the
grandeur of the composition, the elevation of the ideas, the
nobleness of the expression, the truth and correctness of the design,
the grace scattered over the different objects, the imitation of
nature in the colouring, and the masterly strokes of the pencil.
Our last visit to the CENTRAL MUSEUM terminated with the Italian
School; let us now continue our examination, beginning with the
N deg. 17. _(Gallery) The Defeat of Porus._
18. _The Family of Darius at the feet of Alexander._
19. _The Entrance of Alexander into Babylon.
The Passage of the Granicus._
14. _Jesus asleep, or Silence._
16. _The Crucifix surrounded by angels._
The compositions of LE BRUN are grand and rich; his costume
well-chosen, and tolerably scientific; the tone of his pictures
well-suited to the subject. But, in this master, we must not look
for purity and correctness of drawing, in an eminent degree. He much
resembles PIETRO DA CORTONA. LE BRUN, however, has a taste more in
the style of RAPHAEL and the antique, though it is a distant
imitation. The colouring of PIETRO DA CORTONA is far more agreeable
and more captivating.
Among the small pictures by LE BRUN, N deg.s. 14 and 16 deserve to be
distinguished; but his _chefs d'oeuvre_ are the achievements of
Alexander. When the plates from these historical paintings, engraved
by AUDRAN, reached Rome, it is related that the Italians, astonished,
exclaimed: "_Povero Raffaello! non sei piu il primo_." But, when they
afterwards saw the originals, they restored, to RAPHAEL his former
N deg. 43. (Gallery.) _View of a sea-port at sun-set_.
45. _A Sea-piece on a fine morning_.
46. _A Landscape enlivened by the setting sun_.
The superior merit of CLAUDE in landscape-painting is too well known
to need any eulogium, The three preceding are the finest of his
pictures in this collection. However, at Rome, and in England, there
are some more perfect than those in the CENTRAL MUSEUM. One of his
_chefs d'oeuvre_, formerly at Rome, is now at Naples, in the Gallery
of Prince Colonna.
N deg. 54. (Gallery.) _Christ taken down from the cross._
The above is the most remarkable picture here by this master.
N deg. 57. (Gallery.) _The Virgin_, called _La Vierge a
la grappe_, because she is taking from a basket of
fruit a bunch of grapes to present to her son.
N deg. 70. (Gallery.) _The Fall of the manna in the desert._
75. _Rebecca and Eleazar._
77. _The Judgment of Solomon._
78. _The blind Men of Jericho._
82. _Winter or the Deluge._
In this collection, the above are the finest historical paintings of
POUSSIN; and of his landscapes, the following deserve to be admired.
N deg. 76. (Gallery.) _Diogenes throwing away his porringer._
83. _The Death of Eurydice._
POUSSIN is the greatest painter of the French school. His
compositions bear much resemblance to those of RAPHAEL, and to the
antique: though they have not the same _naivete_ and truth. His
back-grounds are incomparable; his landscapes, in point of
composition, superior even to those of CLAUDE. His large altar-pieces
are the least beautiful of his productions. His feeble colouring
cannot support proportions of the natural size: in these pictures,
the charms of the background are also wanting.
N deg. 98. (Gallery.) _St. Paul preaching at Ephesus._
This is the _chef d'oeuvre_ of LE SUEUR, who is to be admired for the
simplicity of his pencil, as well as for the beauty of his
N deg. 111. (Gallery.) _The Martyrdom of St. Processa and St.
112. _Caesar's Tribute._
These are the finest productions of this master, who was a worthy
rival of CARAVAGGIO.
N deg. 121. (Gallery.) _A Sea-port at sun-set_.
This painter's style is generally correct and agreeable. In the above
picture he rivals CLAUDE.
* * * * *
We now come to the school which, of all others, is best known in
England. This exempts me from making any observations on the
comparative merits of the masters who compose it. I shall therefore
confine myself to a bare mention of the best of their performances,
at present exhibited in the CENTRAL MUSEUM.
N deg. 485. (Gallery.) _St. Francis, dying, receives the sacrament._
503. _Christ taken down from the cross_, a celebrated picture
from the cathedral of Antwerp.
507. _Nicholas Rochox, a burgomaster of the city of Antwerp, and
a friend of_ RUBENS.
509. _The Crucifixion of St. Peter_.
513. _St. Roch interceding for the people attacked by the
526. _The Village-Festival_.
In this repository, the above are the most remarkable productions of
N deg. 255. (Gallery.) _The Mother of pity._
264. _The portraits of Charles I, elector palatine, and his
brother, prince Robert._
265. _A full-length portrait of a man holding his daughter by
266. _A full-length portrait of a lady with her son._
These are superior to the other pictures by VANDYCK in this
N deg. 216. (Gallery.) _The Nuns._
The history of this piece is interesting. The eldest daughter of
CHAMPAGNE was a nun in the convent of _Port-Royal_ at Paris. Being
reduced to extremity by a fever of fourteen months' duration, and
given over by her physicians, she falls to prayers with another nun,
and recovers her health.
N deg. 227. (Gallery.) _The Triumph of St. Catherine._
N deg. 234. (Gallery.) _The dropsical Woman._
N deg. 319. (Gallery.) _A young woman, dressed in a yellow veil, and
with her hands crossed on her knees._
N deg. 351. (Gallery.) _Twelfth-Day_.
352. _The Family-Concert_.
ADRIAN VAN OSTADE.
N deg. 428. (Gallery.) _The family of Ostade, painted by himself._
430. _A smoking Club_.
431. _The Schoolmaster, with the ferula in his hand, surrounded
by his scholars_.
N deg. 446. (Gallery.) _An extensive pasture, with cattle._
This most remarkable picture represents, on the fore-ground, near an
oak, a bull, a ewe with its lamb, and a herdsman, all as large as
N deg. 457. (Gallery.) _The head of a woman with ear-rings, and dressed
in a fur-cloak._
458. _The good Samaritan_.
465. _The Cabinet-maker's family._
466. _Tobias and his family kneeling before the angel Raphael,
who disappears from his sight, after having made himself known._
469. _The Presentation of Jesus in the temple._
The pictures, exhibited in the _Saloon_ of the _Louvre_, have
infinitely the advantage of those in the _Great Gallery_; the former
apartment being lighted from the top; while in the latter, the light
is admitted through large windows, placed on both sides, those on the
one side facing the compartments between those on the other; so that,
in this respect, the master-pieces in the _Gallery_ are viewed under
very unfavourable circumstances.
The _Gallery_ of the _Louvre_ is still capable of containing more
pictures, one eighth part of it (that next to the _Tuileries_), being
under repair for the purpose. It has long been a question with the
French republican government, whether the palace of the _Tuileries_
should not be connected to the _Louvre_, by a gallery parallel to
that which borders the Seine. Six years ago, I understand, the
subject was agitated, and dropped again, on consideration of the
state of the country in general, and particularly the finances. It is
now revived; and I was told the other day, that a plan of
construction had absolutely been adopted. This, no doubt, is more
easy than to find the sums of money necessary for carrying on so
expensive an undertaking.
If the fact were true, it is of a nature to produce a great sensation
in modern art, since it is affirmed that the object of this work is
to give a vast display to every article appropriated to general
instruction; for, according to report, it is intended that these
united buildings, should, in addition to the National Library,
contain the collections of statues, pictures, &c. &c. still remaining
at the disposal of the government. I would not undertake to vouch for
the precise nature of the object proposed; but it cannot be denied
that, in this project, there is a boldness well calculated to flatter
the ambition of the Chief Consul.
However, I think it more probable that nothing, in this respect, will
be positively determined in the present state of affairs. The
expedition to St. Domingo will cost an immense sum, not to speak of
the restoration of the French navy, which must occasion great and
immediate calls for money. Whence I conclude that the erection of the
new Gallery, like that of the National Column, will be much talked
of, but remain among other projects in embryo, and the discussion be
adjourned _sine die_.
Leaving the _Great Gallery_, we return to the _Saloon_ of the
_Louvre_, which, being an intermediate apartment, serves as a point
of communication between it and the
GALLERY OF APOLLO.
The old gallery of this name, first called _La petite galerie du
Louvre_, was constructed under the reign of Henry IV, and, from its
origin, ornamented with paintings. This gallery having been consumed
by fire in 1661, owing to the negligence of a workman employed in
preparing a theatre for a grand ballet, in which the king was to
dance with all his court, Lewis XIV immediately ordered it to be
rebuilt and magnificently decorated.
LE BRUN, who then directed works of this description in France,
furnished the designs of all the paintings, sculpture, and ornaments,
which are partly executed. He divided the vault of the roof into
eleven principal compartments; in that which is in the centre, he
intended to represent _Apollo_ in his car, with all the attributes
peculiar to the Sun, which was the king's device. The _Seasons_ were
to have occupied the four nearest compartments; in the others, were
to have been _Evening_ and _Morning_, _Night_ and _Day-break_, the
_Waking of the Waters_, and that of the _Earth at Sun-rise_.
Unfortunately for his fame, this vast project of LE BRUN was never
completed. Lewis XIV, captivated by Versailles, soon turned all his
thoughts towards the embellishment of that palace. The works of the
GALLERY OF APOLLO were entirely abandoned, and, of all this grand
composition, LE BRUN was enabled to execute no more than the
1. _Evening_, represented by Morpheus, lying on a bed of poppies, and
buried in a profound sleep.
2. _Night_ succeeding to day, and lighted by the silvery disk of the
Moon, which, under the figure of Diana, appears in a car drawn by
3. _The Waking of the Waters_. Neptune and Amphitrite on a car drawn
by sea-horses, and accompanied by Tritons, Nereids, and other
divinities of the waters, seem to be paying homage to the rising sun,
whose first rays dispel the Winds and Tempests, figured by a group to
the left; while, to the right, Polyphemus, seated on a rock, is
calling with his loud instrument to his Galatea.
The other compartments, which LE BRUN could not paint, on account of
the cessation of the works, remained a long time vacant, and would
have been so at this day, had not the _ci-devant_ Academy of
Painting, to whom the king, in 1764, granted the use of the GALLERY
OF APOLLO, resolved that, in future, the historical painters who
might be admitted members, should be bound to paint for their
reception one of the subjects which were still wanting for the
completion of the ceiling. In this manner, five of the compartments,
which remained to be filled, were successively decorated, namely:
1. _Summer_, by DURAMEAU.
2. _Autumn_, by TARAVAL.
3. _Spring_, by CALLET.
4. _Winter_, by LAGRENEE the younger,
5. _Morning_, or day-break, by RENOU.
The GALLERY OF APOLLO now making part of the CENTRAL MUSEUM, it would
be worthy of the government to cause its ceiling to be completed, by
having the three vacant compartments painted by skillful French
Under the compartments, and immediately above the cornice, are twelve
medallions, which were to represent the _twelve months of the year_,
characterized by the different occupations peculiar to them: eight
only are executed, and these are the months of summer, autumn, and
The rich borders in gilt stucco, which serve as frames to all these
paintings, the caryatides which support them, as well as the groups
of Muses, Rivers, and Children, that are distributed over the great
cornice, are worthy of remark. Not only were the most celebrated
sculptors then in France, GASPAR and BALTHAZAR MARSY, REGNAUDIN, and
GIRARDON, chosen to execute them; but their emulation was also
excited by a premium of three hundred louis, which was promised to
him who should excel. GIRARDON obtained it by the execution of the
following pieces of sculpture:
1. The figure representing a river which is under the _Waking of the
Waters_; at the south extremity of the gallery.
2. The two trophies of arms which are near that river.
3. The caryatides that support one of the octagonal compartments
towards the quay, at the foot of which are seen two children; the one
armed with a sickle, the other leaning on a lion.
4. The group of caryatides that supports the great compartment where
_Summer_ is represented, and below which is a child holding a
5. The two grouped figures of Tragedy and Comedy, which rest on the
In the GALLERY OF APOLLO will be exhibited in succession, about
twelve thousand original drawings of the Italian, Flemish, and French
schools, the greater part of which formerly belonged to the crown.
This valuable collection had been successively enriched by the choice
of those of JABAK, LANQUE, MONTARSIS, LE BRUN, CROZAT, MARIETTE, &c.
yet never rendered public. Private and partial admission to it had,
indeed, been granted; but artists and amateurs, in general, were
precluded from so rich a source of study. By inconceivable neglect,
it seemed almost to have escaped the attention of the old government,
having been for a hundred years shut up in a confined place, instead
of being exhibited to public view.
The variety of the forms and dimensions of these drawings having
opposed the more preferable mode of arranging them by schools, and in
chronological order, the most capital drawings of each master have
been selected (for, in so extensive a collection, it could not be
supposed that they were all equally interesting); and these even are
sufficiently numerous to furnish several successive exhibitions.
The present exhibition consists of upwards of two hundred drawings by
the most distinguished masters of the Italian school, about one
hundred by those of the Flemish, and as many, or rather more, by
those of the French. They are placed in glazed frames, so contrived
as to admit of the subjects being changed at pleasure. Among the
drawings by RAPHAEL, is the great cartoon of the Athenian School, a
valuable fragment which served for the execution of the grand
_fresco_ painting in the Vatican, the largest and finest of all his
productions. It was brought from the Ambrosian library at Milan, and
is one of the most instructive works extant for a study.
Besides the drawings, is a frame containing a series of portraits of
illustrious personages who made a figure in the reign of Lewis XIV.
They are miniatures in enamel, painted chiefly by the celebrated
PETITOT of Geneva.
Here are also to be seen some busts and antique vases. The most
remarkable of the latter is one of Parian marble, about twenty-one
inches in height by twelve in diameter. It is of an oval form; the
handles, cut out of the solid stone, are ornamented with four swans'
heads, and the neck with branches of ivy. On the swell is a
bas-relief, sculptured in the old Greek style, and in the centre
is an altar on which these words may be decyphered.
[Greek: SOSIBIOS ATAENAIOS EPOIEI.]
_Sosibios of Athens fecit._
This beautiful vase is placed on a table of violet African
breccia, remarkable for its size, being twelve feet in length, three
feet ten inches in breadth, and upwards of three inches in thickness.
It might, at first, be supposed that the indiscriminate admission of
persons of all ranks to a Museum, which presents so many attractive
objects, would create confusion, and occasion breaches of decorum.
But this is by no means the case. _Savoyards_, _poissardes_, and the
whole motley assemblage of the lower classes of both sexes in Paris,
behave themselves with as much propriety as the more refined
visiters; though their remarks, perhaps, may be expressed in language
less polished. In conspicuous places of the various apartments,
boards are affixed, on which is inscribed the following significant
appeal to the uncultivated mind, "_Citoyens, ne touchez a rien; mais
respectez la Propriete Nationale_." Proper persons are stationed here
and there to caution such as, through thoughtlessness or ignorance,
might not attend to the admonition.
On the days appropriated to the accommodation of students, great
numbers are to be seen in different parts of the Museum, some mounted
on little stages, others standing or sitting, all sedulously employed
in copying the favourite object of their studies. Indeed, the epithet
CENTRAL has been applied to this establishment, in order to designate
a MUSEUM, which is to contain the choicest productions of art, and,
of course, become the _centre_ of study. Here, nothing has been
neglected that could render such an institution useful, either in a
political light, or in regard to public instruction. Its magnificence
and splendour speak to every eye, and are calculated to attract the
attention of foreigners from the four quarters of the globe; while,
as a source of improvement, it presents to students the finest models
that the arts and sciences could assemble. In a philosophical point
of view, such a Museum may be compared to a torch, whose light will
not only dispel the remnant of that bad taste which, for a century,
has predominated in the arts dependent on design, but also serve to
guide the future progress of the rising generation.
[Footnote 1: In the great _Gallery_ of the _Louvre_ are suspended
about nine hundred and fifty pictures; which, with ninety in the
_Saloon_, extend the number of the present exhibition to one thousand
[Footnote 2: Whatever may be the beauty of this vase, two others are
to be seen in Paris, which surpass it, according to the opinion of
one of the most celebrated antiquaries of the age, M. VISCONTI. They
are now in the possession of M. AUBRI, doctor of Physic, residing at
N deg.. 272, _Rue St. Thomas du Louvre_, but they formerly graced the
cabinet of the _Villa-Albani_ at Rome. In this apartment, Cardinal
Alessandro had assembled some of the most valuable ornaments of
antiquity. Here were to be seen the Apollo _Sauroctonos_ in bronze,
the Diana in alabaster, and the _unique_ bas-relief of the apothesis
of Hercules. By the side of such rare objects of art, these vases
attracted no less attention. To describe them as they deserve, would
lead me too far; they need only to be seen to be admired. Although
their form is antique, the execution of them is modern, and ascribed
to the celebrated sculptor, SILVIO DA VELETRI, who lived in the
beginning of the seventeenth century. Indeed, M. VISCONTI affirms
that antiquity affords not their equal; assigning as a reason that
porphyry was introduced into Rome at a period when the fine arts were
tending to their decline. Notwithstanding the hardness of the
substance, they are executed with such taste and perfection, that the
porphyry is reduced to the thinness of china.]
_Paris, November 17, 1801._
The _Louvre_, the _Tuileries_, together with the _National Fete_ in
honour of Peace, and a crowd of interesting objects, have so
engrossed our attention, that we seem to have overlooked the
_ci-devant Palais Royal_. Let us then examine that noted edifice,
which now bears the name of
PALAIS DU TRIBUNAT.
In 1629, Cardinal Richelieu began the construction of this palace.
When finished, in 1636, he called it the _Palais Cardinal_, a
denomination which was much criticized, as being unworthy of the
founder of the French Academy.
Like the politic Wolsey, who gave Hampton-Court to Henry VIII, the
crafty Richelieu, in 1639, thought proper to make a present of this
palace to Lewis XIII. After the death of that king, Anne of Austria,
queen of France and regent of the kingdom, quitted the _Louvre_ to
inhabit the _Palais Cardinal_, with her sons Lewis XIV and the Duke
The first inscription was then removed, and this palace was called
_le Palais Royal_, a name which it preserved till the revolution,
when, after the new title assumed by its then owner, it was
denominated _la Maison Egalite_, till, under the consular government,
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