« ZurückWeiter »
and, notwithstanding the vast height of the mountains that rise about it, gives it the shortest course it can take to fall into the sea. Had such a river as this been left to itself to have found its way out from among the Alps, whatever winding it had made it must have formed several little seas, and have laid many countries under water before it had come to the end of its course. I shall not make any remarks upon Geneva, which is a republic so well known to the English. It lies at present under some difficulties by reason of the emperor's displeasure, who has forbidden the importation of their manufactures into any part of the empire, which will certainly raise a sedition among the people, unless the magistrates find some way to remedy it: and they say it is already done by the interposition of the States of Holland. The occasion of the emperor's prohibition was their furnishing great sums to the King of France for the payment of his army in Italy, They obliged themselves to remit, after the rate of twelve hundred thousand pounds sterling, per annum, divided into so many monthly payments. As the interest was very great, several of the merchants of Lyons, who would not trust their king in their own names, are said to have contributed a great deal under the names of Geneva merchants. The republic fancies itself hardly treated by the emperor, since it is not any action of the state, but a compact among private persons that hath furnished out these several remittances. They pretend, however, to have put a stop to them, and by that means are in hopes again to open their commerce into the empire.
FRIBOURG, BERNE, SOLEURRE, ZURICH,
ST. GAUL, LINDAW, &c.
From Geneva I travelled to Lausanne, and thence to Fribourg, which is but a mean town for the capital of so large a canton. Its situation is so irregular, that they are forced to climb up to several parts of it by stair-cases of a prodigious ascent. This inconvenience, however, gives them a very great commodity in case a fire breaks out in any part of the town, for by reason of several reservoirs on the tops of these mountains, by the opening of a sluice they convey a river into what párt of the town they please. They have four churches, four convents of women, and as many for men. The little chapel, called the Salutation, is very neat, and built with a pretty fancy. The college of Jesuits is, they say, the finest in Switzerland. There is a great deal of room in it, and several beautiful views from the different parts of it. They have a collection of pictures representing most of the fathers of their order, who have been eminent for their piety or learning. Among the rest, many Englishmen whom we name rebels, and they martyrs. Henry Garnet's inscription says, That when the heretics could not prevail with him, either by force or promises, to change his religion, they hanged and quartered him. At the Capuchins I saw the escargatoire, which I took the more notice of, because I do not remember to have met with any thing of the same in other countries. It is a square place boarded in, and filled with a vast quantity of large snails, that are esteemed excellent food when they are well dressed. The floor is strewed about half a foot deep with several kinds of plants, among which the snails nestle all the winter season. When Lent arrives they open
their magazines, and take out of them the best meagre food in the world, for there is no dish of fish that they reckon comparable to a ragout of snails.
About two leagues from Fribourg we went to see a hermitage, that is reckoned the greatest curiosity of these parts. It lies in the prettiest solitude imaginable, among woods and rocks, which at first sight dispose a man to be serious. There has lived in it a hermit these five and twenty years, who with his own hands has worked in the rock a pretty chapel, a sacristy, a chamber, kitchen, cellar, and other conveniences. His chimney is carried up through the whole rock, so that you see the sky through it, notwithstanding the rooms lie very deep. He has cut the side of the rock into a flat for a garden, and by laying on it the waste earth that he has found in several of the neighbouring parts, has made such a spot of ground of it as furnishes out a kind of luxury for a hermit. As he saw drops of water distilling from several parts of the rock, by following the veins of them, he has made himself two or three fountains in the bowels of the mountain, that serve his table, and water his little garden.
We had very bad ways from hence to Berne, a great part of them through woods of fir-trees. The great quantity of timber they have in this country, makes them mend their highways with wood instead of stone. I could not but take notice of the make of several of their barns I here saw. After having laid a frame of wood for the foundation, they place at the four corners of it four huge blocks, cut in such a shape as neithermice nor any other sort of vermin can creep up the sides of them, at the same time that they raise the corn above the moisture that might come into it from the ground. The whole weight of the barn is supported by these four blocks.
What pleased me most at Berne was, their public walks by the great church. They are raised extremely high, and that their weight might not break down the walls and pilasters which surround them, they are built upon arches and vaults. Though they are, I believe, as high as most steeples in England from the streets and gardens that lie at the foot of them, yet about forty years ago a person in his drink fell down from the very top to the bottom, without doing himself any other hurt than the breaking of an arm.
He died about four years ago. There is the noblest summer-prospect in the world from this walk, for you have a full view of a huge range of mountains that lie in the country of the Grisons, and are buried in snow. They are about twentyfive leagues distance from the town, though by reason of their height and their colour they seem much nearer. The cathedral church stands on one side of these walks, and is, perhaps, the most magnificent of any Protestant church in Europe out of England. It is a very bold work, and a master-piece in Gothic architecture.
I saw the arsenal of Berne, where they say there are arms for twenty thousand men. There is, indeed, no great pleasure in visiting these magazines of war after one has seen two or three of them, yet it is very well worth a traveller's while to look into all that lie in his way; for besides the idea it gives him of the forces of a state, it serves to fix in his mind the most considerable parts of its history. Thus in that of Geneva, one meets with the ladders, petard, and other utensils which were made use of in their famous escalade, besides the weapons they took of the Savoyards, Florentines, and French, in the several battles mentioned in their history. In this of Berne, you have the figure and armour of the count who founded the town, of the famous Tell, who is represented as shooting at the apple on his son's head. The story is too well known to be repeated in this place. I here, likewise, saw the figure and armour of him that headed the peasants in the war upon Berne, with the several weapons which were found in the hands of his followers. They show, too, abundance of arms that they took from the Burgundians in the three great battles which established them in their liberty, and destroyed the great Duke of Burgundy himself, with the bravest of his subjects. I saw nothing remarkable in the chambers where the council meet, nor in the fortifications of the town. These last were made on occasion of the peasants’ insurrection, to defend the place for the future against the like sudden assaults. In their library I observed a couple of antique figures in metal, of a priest pouring wine between the horns of a bull. The priest is veiled after the manner of the old Roman sacrificers, and is represented in the same action that Virgil describes in the third Æneid.
Ipsa tenens dextrâ pateram pulcherrima Dido
Candentis vaccæ media inter cornua fundit. This antiquity was found at Lausanne.
The town of Berne is plentifully furnished with water, there being a great multitude of handsome fountains planted at set distances from one end of the streets to the other. There is, indeed, no country in the world better supplied with water, than the several parts of Switzerland that I travelled through. One meets every where in the roads with fountains continually running into huge troughs that stand underneath them, which is wonderfully commodious in a country that so much abounds with horses and cattle. It has so many springs breaking out of the sides of the hills, and such vast quantities of wood to make pipes of, that it is no wonder they are so well stocked with fountains.
On the road between Berne and Soleurre there is a monument erected by the republic of Berne, which tells us the story of an Englishman, who is not to be met with in any of our own writers. The inscription is in Latin verse on one side of the stone, and in German on the other, I had not time to copy it, but the substance of it is this. “ One Cussinus, an Englishman, to whom the Duke of Austria had given his sister in marriage, came to take her from among the Swiss by force of arms, but after having ravaged the country for some time, he was here overthrown by the canton of Berne.”
Soleurre is our next considerable town that seemed to me to have a greater air of politeness than any I saw in Switzerland. The French ambassador has his residence in this place. His master contributed a great sum of money to the Jesuits' church, which is not yet quite finished. It is the finest modern building in Switzerland. The old cathedral church stood not far from it. At the ascent that leads to it are a couple of antique pillars which belonged to an old heathen temple, dedicated to Hermes: they seem Tuscan by their proportion. The whole fortification of Soleurre is faced with marble. But its best fortifications are the high mountains that lie within its neighbourhood, and separate it from the Franche Comptè.
The next day's journey carried us through other parts of the canton of Berne, to the little town of Meldingen. I was surprised to find in all my road through Switzerland, the wine that grows in the country of Vaud on the borders of the lake of Geneva, which is