A Bibliographical, Antiquarian and Picturesque Tour in France and Germany, Volume Two
by Thomas Frognall Dibdin
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London. Published June 1829. by R. Jennings. Poultry.




















PARIS. The Boulevards. Public Buildings. Street Scenery. Fountains. 1


General Description of the Bibliotheque du Roi. The Librarians. 42


The same subject continued. 64


The same subject continued. 82


PARIS. Some Account of the early printed and rare Books in the Royal Library. 101


Conclusion of the Account of the Royal Library. The Library of the Arsenal. 144


Library of Ste. Genevieve. The Abbe Mercier St. Leger. Library of the Mazarine College, or Institute. Private Library of the King. Mons. Barbier, Librarian. 169

Introduction to Letter VIII. 209


Some Account of the late Abbe Rive. Booksellers. Printers. Book Binders. 214


Men of Letters. Dom Brial. The Abbe Betencourt. Messrs. Gail, Millin, and Langles. A Roxburghe Banquet. 251


The Collections of Denon, Quintin Craufurd, and the Marquis de Sommariva. 279


Notice of M. Willemin's Monumens Francais inedits. Miscellaneous Antiquities. Present State of the Fine Arts. General Observations upon the National Character. 317


Paris to Strasbourg. Nancy. 343


STRASBOURG. Establishment of the Protestant Religion. The Cathedral. The Public Library. 374


Society. Environs of Strasbourg. Domestic Architecture. Manners and Customs. Literature. Language. 413



Paris, June 18, 1818.

You are probably beginning to wonder at the tardiness of my promised Despatch, in which the architectural minutiae of this City were to be somewhat systematically described. But, as I have told you towards the conclusion of my previous letter, it would be to very little purpose to conduct you over every inch of ground which had been trodden and described by a host of Tourists, and from which little of interest or of novelty could be imparted. Yet it seems to be absolutely incumbent upon me to say something by way of local description.

Perhaps the BOULEVARDS form the most interesting feature about Paris. I speak here of the principal Boulevards:—of those, extending from Ste. Madelaine to St. Antoine; which encircle nearly one half the capital. Either on foot, or in a carriage, they afford you singular gratification. A very broad road way, flanked by two rows of trees on each side, within which the population of Paris seems to be in incessant agitation—lofty houses, splendid shops, occasionally a retired mansion, with a parterre of blooming flowers in front—all manner of merchandize exposed in the open air—prints, muslins, kaleidoscopes, (they have just introduced them[2]) trinkets, and especially watch chains and strings of beads, spread in gay colours upon the ground—the undulations of the chaussee—and a bright blue sky above the green trees—all these things irresistibly rivet the attention and extort the admiration of a stranger. You may have your boots cleaned, and your breakfast prepared, upon these same boulevards. Felicitous junction of conveniences!

This however is only a hasty sketch of what may be called a morning scene. AFTERNOON approaches: then, the innumerable chairs, which have been a long time unoccupied, are put into immediate requisition: then commences the "high exchange" of the loungers. One man hires two chairs, for which he pays two sous: he places his legs upon one of them; while his body, in a slanting position, occupies the other. The places, where these chairs are found, are usually flanked by coffee houses. Incessant reports from drawing the corks of beer bottles resound on all sides. The ordinary people are fond of this beverage; and for four or six sous they get a bottle of pleasant, refreshing, small beer. The draught is usually succeeded by a doze—in the open air. What is common, excites no surprise; and the stream of population rushes on without stopping one instant to notice these somniferous indulgences. Or, if they are not disposed to sleep, they sit and look about them: abstractedly gazing upon the multitude around, or at the heavens above. Pure, idle, unproductive listlessness is the necessary cause of such enjoyment.

Evening approaches: when the Boulevards put on their gayest and most fascinating livery. Then commences the bustle of the Ice Mart: in other words, then commences the general demand for ices: while the rival and neighbouring caffes of TORTONI and RICHE have their porches of entrance choked by the incessant ingress and egress of customers. The full moon shines beautifully above the foliage of the trees; and an equal number of customers, occupying chairs, sit without, and call for ices to be brought to them. Meanwhile, between these loungers, and the entrances to the caffes, move on, closely wedged, and yet scarcely in perceptible motion, the mass of human beings who come only to exercise their eyes, by turning them to the right or to the left: while, on the outside, upon the chaussee, are drawn up the carriages of visitors (chiefly English ladies) who prefer taking their ice within their closed morocco quarters. The varieties of ice are endless, but that of the Vanille is justly a general favourite: not but that you may have coffee, chocolate, punch, peach, almond, and in short every species of gratification of this kind; while the glasses are filled to a great height, in a pyramidal shape, and some of them with layers of strawberry, gooseberry, and other coloured ice—looking like pieces of a Harlequin's jacket—are seen moving to and fro, to be silently and certainly devoured by those who bespeak them. Add to this, every one has his tumbler and small water-bottle by the side of him: in the centre of the bottle is a large piece of ice, and with a tumbler of water, poured out from it, the visitor usually concludes his repast. The most luxurious of these ices scarcely exceeds a shilling of our money; and the quantity is at least half as much again as you get at a certain well-known confectioner's in Piccadilly.

It is getting towards MIDNIGHT; but the bustle and activity of the Boulevards have not yet much abated. Groups of musicians, ballad-singers, tumblers, actors, conjurors, slight-of-hand professors, and raree-shew men, have each their distinct audiences. You advance. A little girl with a raised turban (as usual, tastefully put on) seems to have no mercy either upon her own voice or upon the hurdy-gurdy on which she plays: her father shews his skill upon a violin, and the mother is equally active with the organ; after "a flourish"—not of "trumpets"—but of these instruments—the tumblers commence their operations. But a great crowd is collected to the right. What may this mean? All are silent; a ring is made, of which the boundaries are marked by small lighted candles stuck in pieces of clay. Within this circle stands a man—apparently strangled: both arms are extended, and his eyes are stretched to their utmost limits. You look more closely—and the hilt of a dagger is seen in his mouth, of which the blade is introduced into his stomach! He is almost breathless, and ready to faint—but he approaches, with the crown of a hat in one hand, into which he expects you should drop a sous. Having made his collection, he draws forth the dagger from its carnal sheath, and, making his bow, seems to anticipate the plaudits which invariably follow.[3] Or, he changes his plan of operations on the following evening. Instead of the dagger put down his throat, he introduces a piece of wire up one nostril, to descend by the other—and, thus self-tortured, demands the remuneration and the applause of his audience. In short, from one end of the Boulevards to the other, for nearly two English miles, there is nought but animation, good humour, and, it is right to add, good order;—while, having strolled as far as the Boulevards de Bondy, and watched the moon-beams sparkling in the waters which play there within the beautiful fountain so called,—I retread my steps, and seek the quiet quarters in which this epistle is penned.

The next out-of-door sources of gratification, of importance, are the Gardens of the Thuileries, the Champs Elysees, and the promenade within the Palais Royal; in which latter plays a small, but, in my humble opinion, the most beautifully constructed fountain which Paris can boast of. Of this, presently. The former of these spots is rather pretty than picturesque: rather limited than extensive: a raised terrace to the left, on looking from the front of the Thuileries, is the only commanding situation—from which you observe the Seine, running with its green tint, and rapid current, to the left—while on the right you leisurely examine the rows of orange trees and statuary which give an imposing air of grandeur to the scene. At this season of the year, the fragrance of the blossoms of the orange trees is most delicious. The statues are of a colossal, and rather superior kind ... for garden decoration. There are pleasing vistas and wide gravel walks, and a fine evening usually fills them with crowds of Parisians. The palace is long, but rather too low and narrow; yet there is an air of elegance about it, which, with the immediately surrounding scenery, cannot fail to strike you very agreeably. The white flag of St. Louis floats upon the top of the central dome. The Champs Elysees consist of extensive wooded walks; and a magnificent road divides them, which serves as the great attractive mall for carriages— especially on Sundays—while, upon the grass, between the trees, on that day, appear knots of male and female citizens enjoying the waltz or quadrille. It is doubtless a most singular, and animated scene: the utmost order and good humour prevailing. The Place Louis Quinze, running at right angles with the Thuileries, and which is intersected in your route to the Rue de la Paix, is certainly a most magnificent front elevation; containing large and splendid houses, of elaborate exterior ornament. When completed, to the right, it will present an almost matchless front of domestic architecture, built upon the Grecian model. It was in this place, facing his own regal residence of the Thuileries, that the unfortunate Louis—surrounded by a ferocious and bloodthirsty mob—was butchered by the guillotine.

Come back with me now into the very heart of Paris, and let us stroll within the area of the Palais Royal. You may remember that I spoke of a fountain, which played within the centre of this popular resort. The different branches, or jets d'eau, spring from a low, central point; and crossing each other in a variety of angles, and in the most pleasing manner of intersection, produce, altogether, the appearance of the blossom of a large flower: so silvery and transparent is the water, and so gracefully are its glassy petals disposed. Meanwhile, the rays of the sun, streaming down from above, produce a sort of stationary rainbow: and, in the heat of the day, as you sit upon the chairs, or saunter beneath the trees, the effect is both grateful and refreshing. The little flower garden, in the centre of which this fountain seems to be for ever playing, is a perfect model of neatness and tasteful disposition: not a weed dare intrude: and the earth seems always fresh and moist from the spray of the fountain— while roses, jonquils, and hyacinths scatter their delicious fragrance around. For one minute only let us visit the Caffe des Mille Colonnes: so called (as you well know) from the number of upright mirrors and glasses which reflect the small columns by which the ceiling is supported. Brilliant and singular as is this effect, it is almost eclipsed by the appearance of the Mistress of the House; who, decorated with rich and rare gems, and seated upon a sort of elevated throne—uniting great comeliness and (as some think) beauty of person—receives both the homage and (what is doubtless preferable to her) the francs of numerous customers and admirers. The "wealth of either Ind" sparkles upon her hand, or glitters upon her attire: and if the sun of her beauty be somewhat verging towards its declension, it sets with a glow which reminds her old acquaintance of the splendour of its noon-day power. It is yet a sharply contested point whether the ice of this house be preferable to that of Tortoni: a point, too intricate and momentous for my solution. "Non nostrum est ... tantas componere lites."

Of the Jardin des Plantes, which I have once visited, but am not likely to revisit—owing to the extreme heat of the weather, and the distance of the spot from this place—scarcely too much can be said in commendation: whether we consider it as a depot for live or dead animals, or as a school of study and instruction for the cultivators of natural history. The wild animals are kept, in their respective cages, out of doors, which is equally salutary for themselves and agreeable to their visitors. I was much struck by the perpetual motion of a huge, restless, black bear, who has left the marks of his footsteps by a concavity in the floor:—as well as by the panting, and apparently painful, inaction of an equally huge white or gray bear—who, nurtured upon beds of Greenland ice, seemed to be dying beneath the oppressive heat of a Parisian atmosphere. The same misery appeared to beset the bears who are confined, in an open space, below. They searched every where for shade; while a scorching sun was darting its vertical rays upon their heads. In the Museum of dead, or stuffed animals, you have every thing that is minute or magnificent in nature, from the creeping lizard to the towering giraffe, arranged systematically, and in a manner the most obvious and intelligible: while Cuvier's collection of fossil bones equally surprises and instructs you. It is worth all the catacombs of all the capitals in the world. If we turn to the softer and more beauteous parts of creation, we are dazzled and bewildered by the radiance and variety of the tribes of vegetables—whether as fruits or flowers; and, upon the whole, this is an establishment which, in no age or country, hath been surpassed.

It is not necessary to trouble you with much more of this strain. The out-of-door enjoyments in Paris are so well known, and have been so frequently described—and my objects of research being altogether of a very different complexion—you will not, I conclude, scold me if I cease to expatiate upon this topic, but direct your attention to others. Not however but that I think you may wish to know my sentiments about the principal ARCHITECTURAL BUILDINGS of Paris—as you are yourself not only a lover, but a judge, of these matters—and therefore the better qualified to criticise and correct the following remarks—which flow "au bout de la plume"—as Madame de Sevigne says. In the first place, then, let us stop a few minutes before the THUILERIES. It hath a beautiful front: beautiful from its lightness and airiness of effect. The small central dome is the only raised part in the long horizontal line of this extended building: not but what the extremities are raised in the old fashioned sloping manner: but if there had been a similar dome at each end, and that in the centre had been just double its present height, the effect, in my humble opinion, would have harmonised better with the extreme length of the building. It is very narrow; so much so, that the same room contains windows from which you may look on either side of the palace: upon the gardens to the west, or within the square to the east.

Adjoining to the Thuileries is the LOUVRE: that is to say, a long range of building to the south, parallel with the Seine, connects these magnificent residences: and it is precisely along this extensive range that the celebrated Gallery of the Louvre runs. The principal exterior front, or southern extremity of the Louvre, faces the Seine; and to my eye it is nearly faultless as a piece of architecture constructed upon Grecian and Roman models. But the interior is yet more splendid. I speak more particularly of the south and western fronts: that facing the north being more ancient, and containing female figure ornaments which are palpably of a disproportionate length. The Louvre quadrangle (if I may borrow our old college phrase) is assuredly the most splendid piece of ornamental architecture which Paris contains. The interior of the edifice itself is as yet in an unfinished condition;[4] but you must not conclude the examination of this glorious pile of building, without going round to visit the eastern exterior front—looking towards Notre-Dame. Of all sides of the square, within or without, this colonnade front is doubtless the most perfect of its kind. It is less rich and crowded with ornament than any side of the interior—but it assumes one of the most elegant, airy, and perfectly proportionate aspects, of any which I am just now able to recollect. Perhaps the basement story, upon which this double columned colonnade of the Corinthian Order runs, is somewhat too plain—a sort of affectation of the rustic. The alto-relievo figures in the centre of the tympanum have a decisive and appropriate effect. The advantage both of the Thuileries and Louvre is, that they are well seen from the principal thoroughfares of Paris: that is to say, along the quays, and from the chief streets running from the more ancient parts on the south side of the Seine. The evil attending our own principal public edifices is, that they are generally constructed where they cannot be seen to advantage. Supposing one of the principal entrances or malls of London, both for carriages and foot, to be on the south side of the Thames, what could be more magnificent than the front of Somerset House, rising upon its hundred columns perpendicularly from the sides of a river... three times as broad as the Seine, with the majestic arches of Waterloo Bridge!—before which, however, the stupendous elevation of St. Paul's and its correspondent bridge of Black Friars, could not fail to excite the wonder, and extort the praise, of the most anti-anglican stranger. And to crown the whole, how would the venerable nave and the towers of Westminster Abbey—with its peculiar bridge of Westminster ... give a finish to such a succession of architectural objects of metropolitan grandeur! Although in the very heart, of Parisian wonder, I cannot help, you see, carrying my imagination towards our own capital; and suggesting that, if, instead of furnaces, forges, and flickering flames—and correspondent clouds of dense smoke—which give to the southern side of the Thames the appearance of its being the abode of legions of blacksmiths, and glass and shot makers—we introduced a little of the good taste and good sense of our neighbours—and if ... But all this is mighty easily said—though not quite so easily put in practice. The truth however is, my dear friend, that we should approximate a little towards each other. Let the Parisians attend somewhat more to our domestic comforts and commercial advantages—and let the Londoners sacrifice somewhat of their love of warehouses and manufactories—and then you will have hit the happy medium, which, in the metropolis of a great empire, would unite all the conveniences, with all the magnificence, of situation.

Of other buildings, devoted to civil purposes, the CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES, the HOTEL DES INVALIDES, with its gilded dome (a little too profusely adorned,) the INSTITUTE, and more particularly the MINT, are the chief ornaments on the south side of the Seine. In these I am not disposed to pick the least hole, by fastidious or hypercritical observations. Only I wish that they would contrive to let the lions, in front of the facade of the Institute, (sometimes called the College Mazarin or des Quatre Nations—upon the whole, a magnificent pile) discharge a good large mouthful of water— instead of the drivelling stream which is for ever trickling from their closed jaws. Nothing can be more ridiculous than the appearance of these meagre and unappropriate objects: the more to be condemned, because the French in general assume great credit for the management of their fountains. Of the four great buildings just noticed, that of the Mint, or rather its facade, pleases me most. It is a beautiful elevation, in pure good taste; but the stone is unfortunately of a coarse grain and of a dingy colour. Of the BRIDGES thrown across the Seine, connecting all the fine objects on either side, it must be allowed that they are generally in good taste: light, yet firm; but those, in iron, of Louis XVI. and des Arts, are perhaps to be preferred. The Pont Neuf, where the ancient part of Paris begins, is a large, long, clumsy piece of stone work: communicating with the island upon which Notre Dame is built. But if you look eastward, towards old Paris, from the top of this bridge—or if you look in the same direction, a little towards the western side, or upon the quays,—you contemplate, in my humble opinion, one of the grandest views of street scenery that can be imagined! The houses are very lofty—occasionally of six or even eight stories—the material with which they are built is a fine cream-coloured stone: the two branches of the river, and the back ground afforded by Notre Dame, and a few other subordinate public buildings, altogether produce an effect—especially as you turn your back upon the sun, sinking low behind the Barriere de Neuilly—which would equally warm the hearts and exercise the pencils of the TURNERS and CALCOTS of our own shores. Indeed, I learn that the former distinguished artist has actually made a drawing of this picture. But let me add, that my own unqualified admiration had preceded the knowledge of this latter fact. Among other buildings, I must put in a word of praise in behalf of the HALLE-AUX-BLE'S—built after the model of the Pantheon at Rome. It is one hundred and twenty French feet in diameter; has twenty-five covered archways, or arcades, of ten feet in width; of which six are open, as passages of ingress and egress—corresponding with the like number of opposite streets. The present cupola (preceded by one almost as large as that of the Pantheon at Rome) is built of iron and brass—of a curious, light, and yet sufficiently substantial construction—and is unassailable by fire. I never passed through this building without seeing it well stocked with provender; while its area was filled with farmers, who, like our own, assemble to make the best bargain. Yet let me observe that, owing to the height of the neighbouring houses, this building loses almost the whole of its appropriate effect.

Nor should the EXCHANGE, in the Rue des Filles St. Thomas, be dismissed without slight notice and commendation. It is equally simple, magnificent, and striking: composed of a single row, or peristyle, of Corinthian pillars, flanking a square of no mean dimensions, and presenting fourteen pillars in its principal front. At this present moment, it is not quite finished; but when completed, it promises to be among the most splendid and the most perfect specimens of public architecture in Paris.[5] Beautiful as many may think our Exchange, in my humble opinion it has no pretensions to compete with that at Paris. The HOTEL DE VILLE, near the Place de Greve, is rather in the character of the more ancient buildings in France: it is exceedingly picturesque, and presents a noble facade. Being situated amidst the older streets of Paris, nothing can harmonise better with the surrounding objects. Compared with the metropolis, on its present extended scale, it is hardly of sufficient importance for the consequence usually attached to this kind of building; but you must remember that the greater part of it was built in the sixteenth century, when the capital had scarcely attained half its present size. The Place de Greve during the Revolution, was the spot in which the guillotine performed almost all its butcheries. I walked over it with a hurrying step: fancying the earth to be yet moist with the blood of so many immolated victims. Of other HOTELS, I shall mention only those of DE SENS and DE SOUBISE. The entrance into the former yet exhibits a most picturesque specimen of the architecture of the early part of the XVIth century. Its interior is devoted to every thing ... which it ought not to be. The Hotel de Soubise is still a consequential building. It was sufficiently notorious during the reigns of Charles V. and VI.: and it owes its present form to the enterprising spirit of Cardinal Rohan, who purchased it of the Guise family towards the end of the XVIIth century. There is now, neither pomp nor splendour, nor revelry, within this vast building. All its aristocratic magnificence is fled; but the antiquary and the man of curious research console themselves on its possessing treasures of a more substantial and covetable kind. You are to know that it contains the Archives of State and the Royal Printing Office.

Paris has doubtless good reason to be proud of her public buildings; for they are numerous, splendid, and commodious; and have the extraordinary advantage over our own of not being tinted with soot and smoke. Indeed, when one thinks of the sure invasion of every new stone or brick building in London, by these enemies of external beauty, one is almost sick at heart during the work of erection. The lower tier of windows and columns round St. Paul's have been covered with the dirt and smoke of upwards of a century: and the fillagree-like embellishments which distinguish the recent restorations of Henry the VIIth's chapel, in Westminster Abbey, are already beginning to lose their delicacy of appearance from a similar cause. But I check myself. I am at Paris—and not in the metropolis of our own country.

A word now for STREET SCENERY. Paris is perhaps here unrivalled: still I speak under correction—having never seen Edinburgh. But, although portions of that northern capital, from its undulating or hilly site, must necessarily present more picturesque appearances, yet, upon the whole, from the superior size of Paris, there must be more numerous examples of the kind of scenery of which I am speaking. The specimens are endless. I select only a few—the more familiar to me. In turning to the left, from the Boulevard Montmartre or Poissoniere, and going towards the Rue St. Marc, or Rue des Filles St. Thomas (as I have been in the habit of doing, almost every morning, for the last ten days—in my way to the Royal Library) you leave the Rue Montmartre obliquely to the left. The houses here seem to run up to the sky; and appear to have been constructed with the same ease and facility as children build houses of cards. In every direction about this spot, the houses, built of stone, as they generally are, assume the most imposing and picturesque forms; and if a Canaletti resided here, who would condescend to paint without water and wherries, some really magnificent specimens of this species of composition might be executed—equally to the credit of the artist and the place.

If you want old fashioned houses, you must lounge in the long and parallel streets of St. Denis and St. Martin; but be sure that you choose dry weather for the excursion. Two hours of heavy rain (as I once witnessed) would cause a little rushing rivulet in the centre of these streets—and you could only pass from one side to the other by means of a plank. The absence of trottoirs—- or foot-pavement—is indeed here found to be a most grievous defect. With the exception of the Place Vendome and the Rue de la Paix, where something like this sort of pavement prevails, Paris presents you with hardly any thing of the kind; so that, methinks, I hear you say, "what though your Paris be gayer and more grand, our London is larger and more commodious." Doubtless this is a fair criticism. But from the Marche des Innocens—a considerable space, where they sell chiefly fruit and vegetables,[6]—(and which reminded me something of the market-places of Rouen) towards the Hotel de Ville and the Hotel de Soubise, you will meet with many extremely curious and interesting specimens of house and street scenery: while, as I before observed to you, the view of the houses and streets in the Isle St. Louis, from the Pont des Ars, the Quai de Conti, the Pont Neuf, or the Quai des Augustins—or, still better, the Pont Royal—is absolutely one of the grandest and completest specimens of metropolitan scenery which can be contemplated. Once more: go as far as the Pont Louis XVI., cast your eye down to the left; and observe how magnificently the Seine is flanked by the Thuileries and the Louvre. Surely, it is but a sense of justice and a love of truth which compel an impartial observer to say, that this is a view of regal and public splendor—without a parallel in our own country!

The Rue de Richelieu is called the Bond-street of Paris. Parallel with it, is the Rue Vivienne. They are both pleasant streets; especially the former, which is much longer, and is rendered more striking by containing some of the finest hotels in Paris. Hosiers, artificial flower makers, clock-makers, and jewellers, are the principal tradesmen in the Rue de Richelieu; but it has no similarity with Bond-street. The houses are of stone, and generally very lofty—while the Academie de Musique[7] and the Bibliotheque du Roi are public buildings of such consequence and capacity (especially the former) that it is absurd to name the street in which they are situated with our own. The Rue Vivienne is comparatively short; but it is pleasing, from the number of flowers, shrubs, and fruits, brought thither from the public markets for sale. No doubt the Place Vendome and the Rue de la Paix claim precedence, on the score of magnificence and comfort, to either of these, or to any other streets; but to my taste there is nothing (next to the Boulevards) which is so thoroughly gratifying as the Rue de Richelieu. Is it because some few hundred thousand printed volumes are deposited therein? But of all these, the Rue St. Honore, with its faubourg so called, is doubtless the most distinguished and consequential. It seems to run from west to east entirely through Paris; and is considered, on the score of length, as more than a match for our Oxford street.

It may be so; but if the houses are loftier, the street is much narrower; and where, again, is your foot-pavement—to protect you from the eternal movements of fiacre, cabriolet, voiture and diligence? Besides, the undulating line of our Oxford-street presents, to the tasteful observer, a sight—perfectly unrivalled of its kind—especially if it be witnessed on a clear night, when its thousand gas-lighted lamps below emulate the starry lustre of the heavens above! To an inexperienced eye, this has the effect of enchantment. Add to the houses of Oxford-street but two stories, and the appearance of this street, in the day time, would be equally imposing: to which add—what can never be added—the atmosphere of Paris!

You will remark that, all this time, I have been wholly silent about the Palace de Luxembourg, with its beautiful though flat gardens—of tulips, jonquils, roses, wall flowers, lilac and orange trees—its broad and narrow walks—its terraces and statues. The facade, in a line with the Rue Vaugirard, has a grand effect—in every point of view. But the south front, facing the gardens, is extremely beautiful and magnificent; while across the gardens, and in front,—some short English mile—stands the OBSERVATORY. Yet fail not to visit the interior square of the palace, for it is well worth your notice and admiration. This building is now the Chambre des Pairs. Its most celebrated ornament was the famous suite of paintings, by Rubens, descriptive of the history of Henry IV. These now adorn the gallery of the Louvre. It is a pity that this very tasteful structure—which seems to be built of the choicest stone—should be so far removed from what may be called the fashionable part of the city. It is in consequence reluctantly visited by our countrymen; although a lover of botany, or a florist, will not fail to procure two or three roots of the different species of tulips, which, it is allowed, blow here in uncommon luxuriance and splendor.

The preceding is, I am aware, but a feeble and partial sketch—compared with what a longer residence, and a temperature more favourable to exercise (for we are half scorched up with heat, positive and reflected)—would enable me to make. But "where are my favourite ECCLESIASTICAL EDIFICES?" methinks I hear you exclaim. Truly you shall know as much as I know myself; which is probably little enough. Of NOTRE-DAME, the west front, with its marygold window, is striking both from its antiquity and richness. It is almost black from age; but the alto-relievos, and especially those above the doors, stand out in almost perfect condition. These ornaments are rather fine of their kind. There is, throughout the whole of this west front, a beautiful keeping; and the towers are, here, somewhat more endurable—and therefore somewhat in harmony. Over the north-transept door, on the outside, is a figure of the Virgin—once holding the infant Jesus in her arms. Of the latter, only the feet remain. The drapery of this figure is in perfectly good taste: a fine specimen of that excellent art which prevailed towards the end of the XIIIth century. Above, is an alto-relievo subject of the slaughter of the Innocents. The soldiers are in quilted armour. I entered the cathedral from the western door, during service-time. A sight of the different clergymen engaged in the office, filled me with melancholy—and made me predict sad things of what was probably to come to pass! These clergymen were old, feeble, wretchedly attired in their respective vestments—and walked and sung in a tremulous and faltering manner. The architectural effect in the interior is not very imposing: although the solid circular pillars of the nave—the double aisles round the choir—and the old basso-relievo representations of the life of Christ, upon the exterior of the walls of the choir—cannot fail to afford an antiquary very singular satisfaction. The choir appeared to be not unlike that of St. Denis.

The next Gothic church, in size and importance, is that of St. GERVAIS— situated to the left, in the Rue de Monceau. It has a very lofty nave, but the interior is exceedingly flat and divested of ornament. The pillars have scarcely any capitals. The choir is totally destitute of effect. Some of the stained glass is rich and old, but a great deal has been stolen or demolished during the Revolution. There is a good large modern picture, in one of the side chapels to the right: and yet a more modern one, much inferior, on the opposite side. In almost every side chapel, and in the confessionals, the priests were busily engaged in the catechetical examination of young people previous to the first Communion on the following sabbath, which was the Fete-Dieu. The western front is wholly Grecian—perhaps about two hundred years old. It is too lofty for its width—but has a grand effect, and is justly much celebrated. Yet the situation of this fine old Gothic church is among the most wretched of those in Paris. It is preserved from suffocation, only by holding it head so high. Next in importance to St. Gervais, is the Gothic church of St. EUSTACHE: a perfect specimen, throughout, of that adulterated style of Gothic architecture (called its restoration!) which prevailed at the commencement of the reign of Francis I. Faulty, and even meretricious, as is the whole of the interior, the choir will not fail to strike you with surprise and gratification. It is light, rich, and lofty. This church is very large, but not so capacious as St. Gervais—while situation is, if possible, still more objectionable.

Let me not forget my two old favourite churches of ST. GERMAIN DES PRES, and St. Genevieve; although of the latter I hardly know whether a hasty glimpse, both of the exterior and interior, be not sufficient; the greater part having been destroyed during the Revolution.[8] The immediate vicinity of the former is sadly choaked by stalls and shops—and the west-front has been cruelly covered by modern appendages. It is the church dearest to antiquaries; and with reason.[9] I first visited it on a Sunday, when that part of the Service was performed which required the fullest intonations of the organ. The effect altogether was very striking. The singular pillars— of which the capitals are equally massive and grotesque, being sometimes composed of human beings, and sometimes of birds and beasts, especially towards the choir—the rising up and sitting down of the congregation, and the yet more frequent movements of the priests—the swinging of the censers—and the parade of the vergers, dressed in bag wigs, with broad red sashes of silk, and silk stockings—but, above all, the most scientifically touched, as well as the deepest and loudest toned, organ I ever heard— perfectly bewildered and amazed me! Upon the dispersion of the congregation—which very shortly followed this religious excitation—I had ample leisure to survey every part of this curious old structure; which reminded me, although upon a much larger scale, of the peculiarities of St. Georges de Bocherville, and Notre Dame at Guibray. Certainly, very much of this church is of the twelfth century—and as I am not writing to our friend P*** I will make bold to say that some portions of it yet "smack strongly" of the eleventh.

Nearer to my residence, and of a kindred style of architecture, is the church of ST. GERMAIN AUX AUXERROIS. The west front or porch is yet sound and good. Nothing particularly strikes you on the entrance, but there are some interesting specimens of rich old stained glass in the windows of the transepts. The choir is completely and cruelly modernised. In the side chapels are several good modern paintings; and over an altar of twisted columns, round which ivy leaves, apparently composed of ivory, are creeping, is a picture of three figures in the flames of purgatory. This side-chapel is consecrated to the offering up of orisons "for the souls in purgatory." It is gloomy and repulsive. Death's heads and thigh bones are painted, in white colours, upon the stained wall; and in the midst of all these fearful devices, I saw three young ladies intensely occupied in their devotions at the railing facing the altar. Here again, I observed priests examining young people in their catechism; and others in confessionals, receiving the confessions of the young of both sexes, previous to their taking the first sacrament on the approaching Fete-Dieu.

Contiguous to the Sorbonne church, there stands, raising its neatly constructed dome aloft in air, the Nouvelle Eglise Ste. Genevieve, better known by the name of the PANTHEON. The interior presents to my eye the most beautiful and perfect specimen of Grecian architecture with which I am acquainted. In the crypt are seen the tombs of French warriors; and upon the pavement above, is a white marble statue of General Leclerc (brother in law of Bonaparte,) who died in the expedition to St. Domingo. This, statue is too full of conceit and affectation both in attitude and expression. The interior of the building is about 370 English feet in length, by 270 in width; but it is said that the foundation is too weak. From the gallery, running along the bottom of the dome—the whole a miniature representation of our St. Paul's—you have a sort of Panorama of Paris; but not, I think, a very favourable one. The absence of sea-coal fume strikes you very agreeably; but, for picturesque effect, I could not help thinking of the superior beauty of the panorama of Rouen from the heights of Mont Ste. Catharine. It appears to me that the small lantern on the top of the dome wants a finishing apex.[10]

Yonder majestic portico forms the west front of the church called St. SULPICE ... It is at once airy and grand. There are two tiers of pillars, of which this front is composed: the lower is Doric; the upper Ionic: and each row, as I am told, is nearly forty French feet in height, exclusively of their entablatures, each of ten feet. We have nothing like this, certainly, as the front of a parish church, in London. When I except St. Paul's, such exception is made in reference to the most majestic piece of architectural composition, which, to my eye, the wit of man hath yet devised. The architect of the magnificent front of St. Sulpice was SERVANDONI; and a street hard by (in which Dom Brial, the father of French history, resides) takes its name from this architect. There are two towers—one at each end of this front,—about two hundred and twenty feet in height from the pavement: harmonising well with the general style of architecture, but of which, that to the south (to the best of my recollection) is left in an unaccountably, if not shamefully, unfinished state.[11] These towers are said to be about one toise higher than those of Notre Dame. The interior of this church is hardly less imposing than its exterior. The vaulted roofs are exceedingly lofty; but for the length of the nave, and more especially the choir, the transepts are disproportionably short. Nor are there sufficiently prominent ornaments to give relief to the massive appearance of the sides. These sides are decorated by fluted pilasters of the Corinthian order; which, for so large and lofty a building, have a tame effect. There is nothing like the huge, single, insulated column, or the clustered slim pilasters, that separate the nave from the side aisles of the Gothic churches of the early and middle ages.

The principal altar, between the nave and the choir, is admired for its size, and grandeur of effect; but it is certainly ill-placed, and is perhaps too ornamental, looking like a detached piece which does not harmonise with the surrounding objects. Indeed, most of the altars in French churches want simplicity and appropriate effect: and the whole of the interior of the choir is (perhaps to my fastidious eye only,) destitute of that quiet solemn character, which ought always to belong to places of worship. Rich, minute, and elaborate as are many of the Gothic choirs of our own country, they are yet in harmony; and equally free from a frivolous or unappropriate effect. Behind the choir, is the Chapel of Our Lady: which is certainly both splendid and imposing. Upon the ceiling is represented the Assumption of the Virgin, and the walls are covered with a profusion of gilt ornament, which, upon the whole, has a very striking effect. In a recess, above the altar, is a sculptured representation of the Virgin and Infant Christ, in white marble, of a remarkably high polish: nor are the countenances of the mother and child divested of sweetness of expression. They are represented upon a large globe, or with the world at their feet: upon the top of which, slightly coiled, lies the "bruised" or dead serpent. The light, in front of the spectator, from a concealed window, (a contrivance to which the French seem partial) produces a sort of magical effect. I should add, that this is the largest parochial church in Paris; and that its organ has been pronounced to be matchless.

The rival churches of St. Sulpice—rival ones, rather from similarity of structure, than extent of dimensions—are the ORATOIRE and St. ROCH: both situated in the Rue St. Honore. St. Roch is doubtless a very fine building—with a well-proportioned front—and a noble flight of steps; but the interior is too plain and severe for my taste. The walls are decorated by unfluted pilasters, with capitals scarcely conformable to any one order of architecture. The choir however is lofty, and behind it, in Our Lady's Chapel if I remember rightly, there is a striking piece of sculpture, of the Crucifixion, sunk into a rock, which receives the light from an invisible aperture as at St. Sulpice. To the right, or rather behind this chapel, there is another—called the Chapel of Calvary,—in which you observe a celebrated piece of sculpture, of rather colossal dimensions, of the entombment of Christ. The dead Saviour is borne to the sepulchre by Joseph of Arimathea, St. John, and the three Maries. The name of the sculptor is Deseine. Certainly you cannot but be struck with the effect of such representations—which accounts for these two chapels being a great deal more attended, than the choir or the nave of the church. It is right however to add, that the pictures here are preferable to those at St. Sulpice: and the series of bas-reliefs, descriptive of the principal events in the life of Christ, is among the very best specimens of art, of that species, which Paris can boast of.

Very different from either of these interiors is that of St. Philippe du Roule; which presents you with a single insulated row of fluted Ionic pillars, on each side of the nave; very airy, yet impressive and imposing. It is much to my taste; and I wish such a plan were more generally adopted in the interiors of Grecian-constructed churches. The choir, the altar ... the whole is extremely simple and elegant. Nor must the roof be omitted to be particularly mentioned. It is an arch, constructed of wood; upon a plan originally invented by Philibert Delorme—so well known in the annals of art in the sixteenth century. The whole is painted in stone colour, and may deceive the most experienced eye. This beautiful church was built after the designs of Chalgrin, about the year 1700; and is considered to be a purer resemblance of the antique than any other in Paris. This church, well worth your examination, is situated in a quarter rarely visited by our countrymen—in the Rue du Faubourg du Roule, not far from the barriers.

Not very remotely connected with the topic of CHURCHES, is that of the SABBATHS ... as spent in Paris. They are nearly the same throughout all France. As Bonaparte had no respect for religion itself, so he had less for the forms connected with the upholding of it. Parades, battles, and campaigns—were all that he cared about: and the Parisians, if they supplied him with men and money—the materiel for the execution of these objects—were left to pray, preach, dance, or work, just as they pleased on the Sabbath day. The present King,[12] as you well know, attempted the introduction of something like an English Sabbath: but it would not do. When the French read and understand GRAHAME[13] as well as they do THOMSON, they will peradventure lend a ready and helping hand towards the completion of this laudable plan. At present, there is much which hurts the eye and ear of a well-educated and well-principled Englishman. There is a partial shutting up of the shops before twelve; but after mid-day the shop-windows are uniformly closed throughout Paris. Meanwhile the cart, the cabriolet, the crier of herbs and of other marketable produce—the sound of the whip or of the carpenter's saw and hammer—the shelling of peas in the open air, and the plentiful strewing of the pod hard by—together with sundry, other offensive and littering accompaniments—all strike you as disagreeable deviations from what you have been accustomed to witness at home. Add to this, the half-dirty attire—the unshaven beard of the men, and the unkempt locks of the women—produce further revolting sensations. It is not till past mid-day that the noise of labour ceases, and that the toilette is put into a complete state for the captivation of the beholder. By four or five o'clock the streets become half thinned. On a Sunday, every body rushes into the country. The tradesman has his little villa, and the gentleman and man of fortune his more capacious rural domain; and those, who aspire neither to the one or the other, resort to the Bois de Boulogne and the Champs Elysees, or to the gardens of Beaujon, and Tivoli—or to the yet more attractive magnificence of the palace and fountains of Versailles—where, in one or the other of these places, they carouse, or disport themselves—in promenades, or dancing groups—till

... Majores.. cadunt de montibus umbrae.

This, generally and fairly speaking, is a summer Sabbath in the metropolis of France.

Unconscionable as you may have deemed the length of this epistle, I must nevertheless extend it by the mention of what I conceive to be a very essential feature both of beauty and utility in the street scenery of Paris. It is of the FOUNTAINS that I am now about to speak; and of some of which a slight mention has been already made. I yet adhere to the preference given to that in the Palais Royal; considered with reference to the management of the water. It is indeed a purely aqueous exhibition, in which architecture and sculpture have nothing to do. Not so are the more imposing fountains of the MARCHE DES INNOCENS, DE GRENELLE, and the BOULEVARD BONDY. For the first of these,[14] the celebrated Lescot, abbe de Clagny, was the designer of the general form; and the more celebrated Jean Goujon the sculptor of the figures in bas-relief. It was re-touched and perfected in 1551, and originally stood in the angle of the two streets, of aux Fers and St. Denis, presenting only two facades to the beholder. It was restored and beautified in 1708; and in 1788 it changed both its form and its position by being transported to the present spot— the Marche des Innocens—the market for vegetables. Two other similar sides were then added, making it a square: but the original performances of Goujon, which are considered almost as his master-piece, attract infinitely more admiration than the more recent ones of Pajou. Goujon's figures are doubtless very delicately and successfully executed. The water bubbles up in the centre of the square, beneath the arch, in small sheets, or masses; and its first and second subsequent falls, also in sheets, have a very beautiful effect. They are like pieces of thin, transparent ice, tumbling upon each other; but the lead, of which the lower half of the fountain is composed—as the reservoir of the water—might have been advantageously exchanged for marble. The lion at each corner of the pedestal, squirting water into a sarcophagus-shaped reservoir, has a very absurd appearance. Upon the whole, this fountain is well deserving of particular attention. The inscription upon it is FONTIVM NYMPHIS; but perhaps, critically speaking, it is now in too exposed a situation for the character of it's ornaments. A retired, rural, umbrageous recess, beneath larch and pine— whose boughs

Wave high and murmur in the hollow wind—

seems to be the kind of position fitted for the reception of a fountain of this character.

The FONTAINE DE GRENELLE is almost entirely architectural; and gives an idea of a public office, rather than of a conduit. You look above—to the right and the left—but no water appears. At last, almost by accident, you look down, quite at its base, and observe two insignificant streams trickling from the head of an animal. The central figure in front is a representation of the city of Paris: the recumbent figures, on each side, represent, the one the Seine, the other the Marne. Above, there are four figures which represent the four Seasons. This fountain, the work of Bouchardon, was erected in 1739 upon the site of what formed a part of an old convent. A more simple, and a more striking fountain, to my taste, is that of the ECOLE DE CHIRURGIE; in which a comparatively large column of water rushes down precipitously between two Doric pillars—which form the central ones of four—in an elegant facade.

Yet more simple, more graceful, and more capacious, is the fountain of the BOULEVARD BONDY—which I first saw sparkling beneath the lustre of a full moon. This is, in every sense of the word, a fountain. A constant but gentle undulation of water, from three aqueous terraces, surmounted by three basins, gradually diminishing in size, strike you with peculiar gratification—view it from whatever quarter you will: but seen in the neighbourhood of trees, the effect, in weather like this, is absolutely heart-refreshing. The only objectionable part of this elegant structure, on the score of art, are the lions, and their positions. In the first place, it is difficult to comprehend why the mouth of a lion is introduced as a channel for the transmission of water; and, in the second place, these lions should have occupied the basement portion of the structure. This beautiful fountain, of which the water is supplied by the Canal d'Ourcq, was finished only about seven or eight years ago. Nor let the FOUNTAIN OF TRIUMPH or VICTORY, in the Place du Chatelet, be forgotten. It is a column, surmounted by a gilt statue of Victory, with four figures towards its pedestal. The four jets-d'eau, from its base,—which are sufficiently insignificant—empty themselves into a circular basin; but the shaft of the column, to my eye, is not free from affectation. The names of some of Bonaparte's principal victories are inscribed upon that part of the column which faces the Pont au Change. There is a classical air of elegance about this fountain, which is fifty feet in height.

But where is the ELEPHANT Fountain?—methinks I hear you exclaim. It is yet little more than in embryo: that is to say, the plaster-cast of it only is visible—with the model, on a smaller scale, completed in all its parts, by the side of it. It is really a stupendous affair.[15] On entering the temporary shed erected for its construction, on the site of the Bastille, I was almost breathless with astonishment for a moment. Imagine an enormous figure of the unwieldy elephant, full fifty feet high! You see it, in the front, foreshortened—as you enter; and as the head is the bulkiest portion of the animal, you may imagine something of the probable resulting effect. Certainly it is most imposing. The visitor, who wishes to make himself acquainted with the older, and more original, national character of the French—whether as respects manners, dresses, domestic occupations, and public places of resort—will take up his residence in the Rue du Bac, or at the Hotel des Bourbons; within twenty minutes walk of the more curious objects which are to be found in the Quartiers Saint Andre des Arcs, du Luxembourg, and Saint Germain des Pres. Ere he commence his morning perambulations, he will look well at his map, and to what is described, in the route which he is to take, in the works of Landon and of Legrand, or of other equally accurate topographers. Two things he ought invariably to bear in mind: the first, not to undertake too much, for the sake of saying how many things he has seen:—and the second, to make himself thoroughly master of what he does see. All this is very easily accomplished: and a fare of thirty sous will take you, at starting, to almost any part of Paris, however remote: from whence you may shape your course homewards at leisure, and with little fatigue. Such a visitor will, however, sigh, ere he set out on his journey, on being told that the old Gothic church of St. Andre-des-Arcs—the Abbey of St. Victor—the churches of the Bernardins, and of St. Etienne des Pres, the Cloisters of the Cordeliers, and the Convent of the Celestins ... exist no longer ... or, that their remains are mere shadows of shades! But in the three quarters of Paris, above mentioned, he will gather much curious information—in spite of the havoc and waste which the Revolution has made; and on his return to his own country he will reflect, with pride and satisfaction, on the result of his enterprise and perseverance.

To my whimsically formed taste, OLD PARIS has in it very much to delight, and afford valuable information. Not that I would decry the absolute splendor, gaiety, comfort, and interminable variety, which prevail in its more modern and fashionable quarters. And certainly one may fairly say, that, on either side the Seine, Paris is a city in which an Englishman,— who is resolved to be in good humour with all about him, and to shew that civility to others which he is sure to receive from the better educated classes of society here—cannot fail to find himself pleased, perfectly at ease, and well contented with his fare. Compared with the older part of London, the more ancient division of Paris is infinitely more interesting, and of a finer architectural construction. The conical roofs every now and then remind you of the times of Francis I.; and the clustered arabesques, upon pilasters, or running between the bolder projections of the facades, confirm you in the chronology of the buildings. But time, caprice, fashion, or poverty, will, in less than half a century, materially change both the substance and surfaces of things. It is here, as at Rouen—you bewail the work of destruction which has oftentimes converted cloisters into workshops, and consecrated edifices into warehouses of every description. Human nature and the fate of human works are every where the same. Let two more centuries revolve, and the THUILERIES and the LOUVRE may possibly be as the BASTILLE and the TEMPLE.

Such, to my feelings, is Paris—considered only with reference to its local: for I have really done little more than perambulate its streets, and survey its house-tops—with the important exceptions to be detailed in the succeeding letters from hence. Of the treasures contained beneath some of those "housetops"—more especially of such as are found in the shape of a BOOK—whether as a MS. or a Printed Volume—prepare to receive some particulars in my next.

[1] [Several Notes in this volume having reference to MONS. CRAPELET, a Printer of very considerable eminence at Paris, it may be proper to inform the Reader that that portion of this Tour, which may be said to have a more exclusive reference to France, usually speaking—including the notice of Strasbourg—was almost entirely translated by Mons. Crapelet himself. An exception however must be made to those parts which relate to the King's Private Library at Paris, and to Strasbourg: these having been executed by different pens, evidently in the hands of individuals of less wrongheadedness and acrimony of feeling than the Parisian Printer. Mons. Crapelet has prefixed a Preface to his labours, in which he tells the world, that, using my more favourite metaphorical style of expression, "a CRUSADE has risen up against the INFIDEL DIBDIN."

Metaphorical as may be this style, it is yet somewhat alarming: for, most assuredly, when I entered and quitted the "beau pays" of France, I had imagined myself to have been a courteous, a grateful, and, under all points of view, an ORTHODOX Visitor. It seems however, from the language of the French Typographer, that I acted under a gross delusion; and that it was necessary to have recourse to his sharp-set sickle to cut away all the tares which I had sown in the soil of his country. Upon the motive and the merit of his labours, I have already given my unbiassed opinion.[A] Here, it is only necessary to observe, that I have not, consciously, falsified his opinions, or undervalued his worth. Let the Reader judge between us.

[A] Vide Preface.

[2] [They have now entirely lost the recollection, as well as the sight, of them.]

[3] ["The Parisians would doubtless very willingly get rid of such a horrid spectacle in the streets and places of the Metropolis: besides, it is not unattended with danger to the Actors themselves."—CRAPELET.]

[4] ["And will continue to be so, it is feared—to the regret of all Frenchmen—for a long time. It is however the beginning of a new reign. The building of some new Edifices will doubtless be undertaken. But if the King were to order the finishing of all the public Buildings of Paris, the epoch of the reign of Charles X. would assuredly be the most memorable for Arts, and the embellishment of the Capital." CRAPELET. 1825.]

[5] [It is now completed: but seven years elapsed, after the above description, before the building was in all respects considered to be finished.]

[6] [A most admirable view of this Market Place, with its picturesque fountain in the centre, was painted by the younger Mr. Chalon, and exhibited at Somerset House. A well executed print of such a thoroughly characteristic performance might, one would imagine, sell prosperously on either side of the channel.]

[7] [This building, which may perhaps be better known as that of the Opera, is now rased to the ground—in consequence of the assassination of the Duke de Berri there, in February, 1820, on his stepping into his carriage on quitting the Opera. But five years were suffered to elapse before the work of demolition was quite completed. And when will the monument to the Duke's memory be raised?—CRAPELET.]

[8] [It is now entirely demolished, to make way for a large and commodious Street which gives a complete view of the church of St. Stephen. CRAPELET.]

[9] The views of it, as it appeared in the XVIth century, represent it nearly surrounded by a wall and a moat. It takes its name as having been originally situated in the fields.

[10] [Two years ago was placed, upon the top of this small lantern, a gilt cross, thirty-eight feet high: 41 of English measurement: and the church has been consecrated to the Catholic service. CRAPELET. Thus, the criticism of an English traveller, in 1818, was not entirely void of foundation.]

[11] [Our public buildings, which have continued long in an unfinished state, strike the eyes of foreigners more vividly than they do our own: but it is impossible to face the front of St. Sulpice without partaking of the sentiment of the author. CRAPELET.]

[12] [Louis XVIII.]

[13] [read and understand GRAHAME.]—Mr. Grahame is both a very readable and understandable author. He has reason to be proud of his poem called the SABBATH: for it is one of the sweetest and one of the purest of modern times. His scene however is laid in the country, and not in the metropolis. The very opening of this poem refreshes the heart—and prepares us for the more edifying portions of it, connected with the performance of the religious offices of our country. This beautiful work will LIVE as long as sensibility, and taste, and a virtuous feeling, shall possess the bosoms of a British Public.

[14] See the note p. 20, ante.

[15] It is now completed.



Hotel des Colonies, Rue de Richelieu.

The moment is at length arrived when you are to receive from me an account of some of the principal treasures contained in the ROYAL LIBRARY of Paris. I say "some":—because, in an epistolary communication, consistently with my time, and general objects of research—it must be considered only as a slight selection, compared with what a longer residence, and a more general examination of the contents of such a collection, might furnish. Yet, limited as my view may have been, the objects of that view are at once rich and rare, and likely to afford all true sons of BIBLIOMANIA and VIRTU the most lively gratification. This is a bold avowal: but I fear not to make it, and: the sequel shall be the test of its modesty and truth.

You observe, I have dated my letter from a different quarter. In fact, the distance of my former residence from the Bibliotheque du Roi—coupled with the oppressive heat of the weather—rendered my morning excursions thither rather uncomfortable; and instead of going to work with elastic spirits, and an untired frame, both Mr. Lewis and myself felt jaded and oppressed upon our arrival. We are now, on the contrary, scarcely fifty yards from the grand door of entrance into the library. But this is only tantalizing you. To the LIBRARY, therefore, at once let us go. The exterior and interior, as to architectural appearance, are rather of a sorry description: heavy; comparatively low, without ornament, and of a dark and dingy tint. Towards the street, it has the melancholy air of a workhouse. But none of the apartments, in which the books are contained, look into this street; so that, consequently, little inconvenience is experienced from the incessant motion and rattling of carts and carriages—the Rue de Richelieu being probably the most frequented in Paris. Yet, repulsive as may be this exterior, it was observed to me—on my suggesting what a fine situation the quadrangle of the Louvre would make for the reception of the royal library—that, it might be questioned whether even that quadrangle were large enough to contain it;—and that the present building, however heavy and ungracious of aspect, was better calculated for its present purpose than probably any other in Paris. In the centre of the edifice—for it is a square, or rather a parallelogram-shaped building—stands a bronze naked figure of Diana; stiff and meagre both in design and execution. It is of the size of life; but surely a statue of Minerva would have been a little more appropriate? On entering the principal door, in the street just mentioned, you turn to the right, and mount a large stone staircase—after attending to the request, printed in large characters, of "Essuyez vos Souliers"—as fixed against the wall. This entrance goes directly to the collection of PRINTED BOOKS. On reaching the first floor, you go straight forward, within folding doors; and the first room, of considerable extent, immediately receives you. The light is uniformly admitted by large windows, to the right, looking into the quadrangle before mentioned.

You pass through this room—where scarcely any body lingers—and enter the second, where are placed the EDITIONES PRINCIPES, and other volumes printed in the fifteenth century. To an experienced eye, the first view of the contents of this second room is absolutely magical; Such copies of such rare, precious, magnificent, and long-sought after impressions!... It is fairy-land throughout. There stands the first Homer, unshorn by the binder; a little above, is the first Roman edition of Eustathius's Commentary upon that poet, in gorgeous red morocco, but printed UPON VELLUM! A Budaeus Greek Lexicon (Francis I.'s own copy) also UPON VELLUM! The Virgils, Ovids, Plinies ... and, above all, the Bibles—But I check myself; in order to conduct you regularly through the apartments, ere you sit down with me before each volume which I may open. In this second-room are two small tables, rarely occupied, but at one or the other of which I was stationed (by the kind offices of M. Van Praet) for fourteen days—with almost every thing that was exquisite and rare, in the old book-way, behind and before me. Let us however gradually move onwards. You pass into the third room. Here is the grand rendezvous of readers. Six circular or rather oval tables, each capable of accommodating twelve students, and each generally occupied by the full number, strike your eye in a very pleasing manner, in the centre of this apparently interminable vista of printed volumes.

But I must call your particular attention to the foreground of this magical book-view. To the left of this third room, on entering, you observe a well-dressed Gentleman (of somewhat shorter stature than the author of this description) busied behind a table; taking down and putting up volumes: inscribing names, and numbers, and titles, in a large folio volume; giving orders on all sides; and putting several pairs of legs into motion in consequence of those orders—while his own are perhaps the least spared of any. This gentleman is no less a personage than the celebrated Monsieur VAN PRAET; one of the chief librarians in the department of the printed books. His aspect is mild and pleasant; while his smart attire frequently forms a striking contrast to habiliments and personal appearances of a very different, and less conciliating description, by which he is surrounded.[16] M. Van Praet must be now approaching his sixtieth year; but his age sits bravely upon him—for his step is rapid and firm, and his physiognomical expression indicative of a much less protracted period of existence.[17] He is a Fleming by birth; and, even in shewing his first Eustathius, or first Pliny, UPON VELLUM, you may observe the natural enthusiasm of a Frenchman tempered by the graver emotions of a native of the Netherlands.

This distinguished Bibliographer (of whom, somewhat more in a future epistle) has now continued nearly forty years in his present situation; and when infirmity, or other causes, shall compel him to quit it, France will never replace him by one possessing more appropriate talents! He doats upon the objects committed to his trust. He lives almost entirely among his dear books ... either on the first floor or on the ground floor: for when the hour of departure, two o'clock, arrives, M. Van Praet betakes him to the quieter book realms below—where, surrounded by Grolier, De Thou, and Diane de Poictiers, copies, he disports him till his dinner hour of four or five—and 'as the evening shades prevail,' away hies he to his favourite 'Theatre des Italiens,' and the scientific treat of Italian music. This I know, however—and this I will say—in regard to the amiable and excellent gentleman under description—that, if I were King of France, Mons. Van Praet should be desired to sit in a roomy, morocco-bottomed, mahogany arm chair—not to stir therefrom—but to issue out his edicts, for the delivery of books, to the several athletic myrmidons under his command. Of course there must be occasional exceptions to this rigid, but upon the whole salutary, "Ordonnance du Roy." Indeed I have reason to mention a most flattering exception to it—in my own favour: for M. Van Praet would come into the second room, (just mentioned) and with his own hands supply me with half a score volumes at a time—of such as I wished to examine. But, generally speaking, this worthy and obliging creature is too lavish of his own personal exertions. He knows, to be sure, all the bye-passes, and abrupt ascents and descents; and if he be out of sight—in a moment, through some secret aperture, he returns as quickly through another equally unseen passage. Upon an average, I set his bibliomaniacal peregrinations down at the rate of a full French league per day. It is the absence of all pretension and quackery—the quiet, unobtrusive manner in which he opens his well-charged battery of information upon you—but, more than all, the glorious honours which are due to him, for having assisted to rescue the book treasures of the Abbey of St. Germain des Pres from destruction, during the horrors of the Revolution—that cannot fail to secure to him the esteem of the living, and the gratitude of posterity.

We must now leave this well occupied and richly furnished chamber, and pass on to the fourth room—in the centre of which is a large raised bronze ornament, representing Apollo and the Muses—surrounded by the more eminent literary characters of France in the seventeenth century. It is raised to the glory of the grand monarque Louis XIV. and the figure of Apollo is intended for that of his Majesty. The whole is a palpable failure: a glaring exhibition of bad French taste. Pegasus, the Muses, rocks, and streams, are all scattered about in a very confused manner; without connection, and of course without effect. Even the French allow it to be "mesquin, et de mauvais gout." But let me be methodical. As you enter this fourth room, you observe, opposite—before you turn to the right—a door, having the inscription of CABINET DES MEDAILLES. This door however is open only twice in the week; when the cabinet is freely and most conveniently shewn. Of its contents—in part, precious beyond comparison—this is the place to say only one little word or two: for really there would be no end of detail were I to describe even its most remarkable treasures. Francis I. and his son Henry II. were among its earliest patrons; when the cabinet was deposited in the Louvre. The former enriched it with a series of valuable gold medals, and among them with one of Louis XII., his predecessor; which has not only the distinction of being beautifully executed, but of being the largest, if not the first of its kind in France.[18]

The specimens of Greek art, in coins, and other small productions, are equally precious and select. Vases, shields, gems, and cameos—the greater part of which are described in Caylus's well-known work—are perfectly enchanting. But the famous AGAT of the STE. CHAPELLE—supposed to be the largest in the world, and which has been engraved by Giradet in a manner perfectly unrivalled—will not fail to rivet your attention, and claim your most unqualified commendation. The sardonyx, called the VASE of PTOLEMY, is another of the great objects of attraction in the room where we are now tarrying—and beautiful, and curious, and precious, it unquestionably is. Doubtless, in such a chamber as this, the classical archaeologist will gaze with no ordinary emotions, and meditate with no ordinary satisfaction. But I think I hear the wish escape him—as he casts an attentive eye over the whole—"why do they not imitate us in a publication relating to them? Why do they not put forth something similar to what we have done for our Museum Marbles? Or rather, speaking more correctly, why are not the Marlborough Gems considered as an object of rivalry, by the curators of this exquisite cabinet? Paris is not wanting both in artists who design, and who engrave, in this department, with at least equal skill to our own."[19]

Let us now return to the Books. In the fourth book-room there is an opening in the centre, to the left, nearly facing the bronze ornament—through which, as you enter, and look to the left, appear the upper halves of two enormous GLOBES. The effect is at first, inconceivably puzzling and even startling: but you advance, and looking down the huge aperture occasioned by these gigantic globes, you observe their bases resting on the ground floor: both the upper and ground floor having the wainscots entirely covered by books. These globes are the performance of Vincent Coronelli, a Venetian; and were presented to Louis XIV. by the Cardinal d'Etrees, who had them made for his Majesty. You return back into the fourth room—pace on to its extremity, and then, at right angles, view the fifth room—or, comprising the upper and lower globe rooms, a seventh room; the whole admirably well lighted up from large side windows. Observe further—the whole corresponding suite of rooms, on the ground floor, is also nearly filled with printed books, comprising the unbound copies—and one chamber, occupied by the more exquisite specimens of the presses of the Alduses, the Giuntae, the Stephens, &c. UPON VELLUM, or on large paper. Another chamber is exclusively devoted to large paper copies of all descriptions, from the presses of all countries; and in one or the other of these chambers are deposited the volumes from the Library of Grolier and De Thou—names, dear to Book-Collectors; as an indifferent copy has hardly ever yet been found which was once deposited on the shelves of either. You should know that the public do not visit this lower suite of rooms, it being open only to the particular friends of the several Librarians. The measurement of these rooms, from the entrance to the extremity of the fifth room, is upwards of 700 feet.

Now, my good friend, if you ask me whether the interior of this library be superior to that of our dear BODLEIAN, I answer, at once, and without fear of contradiction—it is very much inferior. It represents an interminable range of homely and commodious apartments; but the Bodleian library, from beginning to end—from floor to ceiling—is grand, impressive, and entirely of a bookish appearance. In that spacious and lofty receptacle—of which the ceiling, in my humble opinion, is an unique and beautiful piece of workmanship—all is solemn, and grave, and inviting to study: yet echoing, as it were, to the footsteps of those who once meditated within its almost hallowed precincts—the Bodleys, the Seldens, the Digbys, the Lauds and Tanners, of other times![20] But I am dreaming: forgetting that, at this moment, you are impatient to enter the MS. Department of the Royal Library at Paris. Be it so, therefore. And yet the very approach to this invaluable collection is difficult of discovery. Instead of a corresponding lofty stone stair-case, you cross a corner of the square, and enter a passage, with an iron gate at the extremity—leading to the apartments of Messrs. Millin and Langles. A narrow staircase, to the right, receives you: and this stair-case would appear to lead rather to an old armoury, in a corner-tower of some baronial castle, than to a suite of large modern apartments, containing probably, upon the whole, the finest collection of Engravings and of Manuscripts, of all ages and characters, in Europe. Nevertheless, as we cannot mount by any other means, we will e'en set footing upon this stair-case, humble and obscure as it may be. You scarcely gain the height of some twenty steps, when you observe the magical inscription of CABINET DES ESTAMPES. Your spirits dance, and your eyes sparkle, as you pull the little wire—and hear the clink of a small corresponding bell. The door is opened by one of the attendants in livery— arrayed in blue and silver and red—very handsome, and rendered more attractive by the respectful behaviour of those who wear that royal costume. I forgot to say that the same kind of attendants are found in all the apartments attached to this magnificent collection—and, when not occupied in their particular vocation of carrying books to and fro, these attendants are engaged in reading, or sitting quietly with crossed legs, and peradventure dosing a little. But nothing can exceed their civility; accompanied with a certain air of politeness, not altogether divested of a kind of gentlemanly deportment.

On entering the first of those rooms, where the prints are kept, you are immediately struck with the narrow dimensions of the place—for the succeeding room, though perhaps more than twice as large, is still inadequate to the reception of its numerous visitors.[21] In this first room you observe a few of the very choicest productions of the burin, from the earliest periods of the art, to the more recent performances of Desnoyer, displayed within glazed frames upon the wainscot. It really makes the heart of a connoisseur leap with ecstacy to see such Finiguerras, Baldinis, Boticellis, Mantegnas, Pollaiuolos, Israel Van Meckens, Albert Durers, Marc Antonios, Rembrandts, Hollar, Nanteuils, Edelincks, &c.; while specimens of our own great master engravers, among whom are Woollet and Sharp, maintain a conspicuous situation, and add to the gratification of the beholder. The idea is a good one; but to carry it into complete effect, there should be a gallery, fifty feet long, of a confined width, and lighted from above:[22] whereas the present room is scarcely twenty feet square, with a disproportionably low ceiling. However, you cannot fail to be highly gratified—and onwards you go—diagonally—and find yourself in a comparatively long room—in the midst of which is a table, reaching from nearly one end to the other, and entirely filled (every day) with visitors, or rather students—busied each in their several pursuits. Some are quietly turning over the succeeding leaves, on which the prints are pasted: others are pausing upon each fine specimen, in silent ecstacy—checking themselves every instant lest they should break forth into rapturous exclamations!... "silence" being rigidly prescribed by the Curators—and, I must say, as rigidly maintained. Others again are busied in deep critical examination of some ancient ruin from the pages of Piranesi or of Montfaucon—now making notes, and now copying particular parts. Meanwhile, from the top to the bottom of the sides of the, room, are huge volumes of prints, bound in red morocco; which form indeed the materials for the occupations just described.[23]

But, hanging upon a pillar, at the hither end of this second room, you observe a large old drawing of a head or portrait, in a glazed frame; which strikes you in every respect as a great curiosity. M. Du Chesne, the obliging and able director of this department of the collection, attended me on my first visit. He saw me looking at this head with great eagerness. "Enfin voila quelque chose qui merite bien votre attention"—observed he. It was in fact the portrait of "their good but unfortunate KING JOHN"—as my guide designated him. This Drawing is executed in a sort of thick body colour, upon fine linen: the back-ground is gold: now almost entirely tarnished—and there is a sort of frame, stamped, or pricked out, upon the surface of the gold—as we see in the illuminations of books of that period. It should also seem as if the first layer, upon which the gold is placed, had been composed of the white of an egg—or of some such glutinous substance. Upon the whole, it is an exceedingly curious and interesting relic of antient graphic art.

To examine minutely the treasures of such a collection of prints—whether in regard to ancient or modern art—would demand the unremitted attention of the better part of a month; and in consequence, a proportionate quantity of time and paper in embodying the fruits of that attention.[24] There is only one other curiosity, just now, to which I shall call your attention. It is the old wood cut of ST. CHRISTOPHER—of which certain authors have discoursed largely.[25] They suppose they have an impression of it here— whereas that of Lord Spencer has been hitherto considered as unique. His Lordship's copy, as you well know, was obtained from the Buxheim monastery, and was first made public in the interesting work of Heineken.[26] The copy now under consideration is not pasted upon boards, as is Lord Spencer's— forming the interior linings in the cover or binding of an old MS.—but it is a loose leaf, and is therefore subject to the most minute examination, or to any conclusion respecting the date which may be drawn from the watermark. Upon such a foundation I will never attempt to build an hypothesis, or to draw a conclusion; because the same water-mark of Bamberg and of Mentz, of Venice and of Rome, may be found within books printed both at the commencement and at the end of the fifteenth century. But for the print—as it is. I have not only examined it carefully, but have procured, from M. Coeure, a fac-simile of the head only—the most essential part—and both the examination and the fac-simile convince me... that the St. Christopher in the Bibliotheque du Roi is NOT an impression from the same block which furnished the St. Christopher now in the library of St. James's Place.

The general character of the figure, in the Royal Library here, is thin and feeble compared with that in Lord Spencer's collection; and I am quite persuaded that M. Du Chesne,—who fights his ground inch by inch, and reluctantly (to his honour, let me add) assents to any remarks which may make his own cherished St. Christopher of a comparatively modern date— will, in the end, admit that the Parisian impression is a copy of a later date—and that, had an opportunity presented itself of comparing the two impressions with each other,[27] it would never have been received into the Library at the price at which it was obtained—I think, at about 620 francs. However, although it be not THE St. Christopher, it is a graphic representation of the Saint which may possibly be as old as the year 1460.

But we have tarried quite long enough, for the present, within the cabinet of Engravings. Let us return: ascend about a dozen more steps; and enter the LIBRARY OF MANUSCRIPTS. As before, you are struck with the smallness of the first room; which leads, however, to a second of much larger dimensions—then to a third, of a boudoir character; afterwards to a fourth and fifth, rather straitened—and sixthly, and lastly, to one of a noble length and elevation of ceiling—worthy in all respects of the glorious treasures which it contains. Let me, however, be more explicit. In the very first room you have an earnest of all the bibliomaniacal felicity which these MSS. hold out. Look to the left—upon entering—and view, perhaps lost in a very ecstacy of admiration—the Romances ... of all sizes and character, which at first strike you! What Launcelot du Lacs, Tristans, Leonnois, Arturs, Ysaises, and feats of the Table Ronde, stand closely wedged within the brass-wired doors that incircle this and every other apartment! Bibles, Rituals, Moralities, ... next claim your attention. You go on—History, Philosophy, Arts and Sciences ... but it is useless to indulge in these rhapsodies. The fourth apartment, of which I spake, exhibits specimens of what are seen more plentifully, but not of more curious workmanship, in the larger room to which it leads. Here glitter, behind glazed doors, old volumes of devotion bound in ivory, or gilt, or brass, studded with cameos and precious stones; and covered with figures of all characters and ages—some of the XIIth—and more of the immediately following centuries. Some of these bindings (among which I include Diptychs) may be as old as the eleventh—and they have been even carried up to the tenth century.

Let us however return quickly back again; and begin at the beginning. The first room, as I before observed, has some of the most exquisitely illuminated, as well as some of the most ancient MSS., in the whole library. A phalanx of Romances meets the eye; which rather provokes the courage, than damps the ardor, of the bibliographical champion. Nor are the illuminated Bibles of less interest to the graphic antiquary. In my next letter you shall see what use I have made of the unrestrained liberty granted me, by the kind-hearted Curators, to open what doors, and examine what volumes, I pleased. Meanwhile let me introduce you to the excellent MONSIEUR GAIL, who is sitting at yonder desk—examining a beautiful Greek MS. of Polybius, which once belonged to Henry II. and his favourite Diane de Poictiers. M. Gail is the chief Librarian presiding over the Greek and Latin MSS., and is himself Professor of the Greek language in the royal college of France. Of this gentleman I shall speak more particularly anon. At the present moment it may suffice only to observe that he is thoroughly frank, amiable, and communicative, and dexterous in his particular vocation: and that he is, what we should both call, a hearty, good fellow— a natural character. M. Gail is accompanied by the assistant librarians MM. De. l'EPINE, and MEON: gentlemen of equal ability in their particular department, and at all times willing to aid and abet the researches of those who come to examine and appreciate the treasures of which they are the joint Curators. Indeed I cannot speak too highly of these gentlemen— nor can I too much admire the system and the silence which uniformly prevail.

Another principal librarian is M. LANGLES:[28] an author of equal reputation with Monsieur Gail—but his strength lies in Oriental literature; and he presides more especially over the Persian, Arabic, and other Oriental MSS. To the naivete of M. Gail, he adds the peculiar vivacity and enthusiasm of his countrymen. To see him presiding in his chair (for he and M. Gail take alternate turns) and occupied in reading, you would think that a book worm could scarcely creep between the tip of his nose and the surface of the Codex Bombycinus over which he is poring. He is among the most short-sighted of mortals—as to ocular vision. But he has a bravely furnished mind; and such a store of spirits and of good humour—talking withal unintermittingly, but very pleasantly—-that you find it difficult to get away from him. He is no indifferent speaker of our own language; and I must say, seems rather proud of such an acquirement. Both he and M. Gail, and M. Van Praet, are men of rather small, stature— triplicates, as it were, of the same work[29]—but of which M. Gail is the tallest copy. One of the two head librarians, just mentioned, sits at a desk in the second room—and when any friends come to see, or to converse with him—the discussion is immediately adjourned to the contiguous boudoir-like apartment, where are deposited the rich old bindings of which you have just had a hasty description. Here the voices are elevated, and the flourishes of speech and of action freely indulged in.

In the way to the further apartment, from the boudoir so frequently mentioned, you pass a small room—in which there is a plaster bust of the King—and among the books, bound, as they almost all are, in red morocco, you observe two volumes of tremendously thick dimensions; the one entitled Alexander Aphrodiaesus, Hippocrates, &c.—the other Plutarchi Vitae Parallelae et Moralia, &c. They contain nothing remarkable for ornament, or what is more essential, for intrinsic worth. Nevertheless you pass on: and the last—but the most magnificent—of all the rooms, appropriated to the reception of books, whether in ms. or in print, now occupies a very considerable portion of your attention. It is replete with treasures of every description: in ancient art, antiquities, and both sacred and profane learning: in languages from all quarters, and almost of all ages of the world. Here I opened, with indescribable delight the ponderous and famous Latin Bible of Charles the Bald—and the religious manual of his brother the Emperor Lotharius—composed chiefly of transcripts from the Gospels. Here are ivory bindings, whether as diptychs, or attached to regular volumes. Here are all sorts and sizes of the uncial or capital-letter MSS— in portions, or entire. Here, too, are very precious old illuminations, and specimens—almost without number—admirably arranged, of every species of BIBLIOGRAPHICAL VIRTU, which cannot fail to fix the attention, enlarge the knowledge, and improve the judgment, of the curious in this department of research.

Such, my dear friend, is the necessarily rapid—and, I fear, consequently imperfect—sketch which I send you of the general character of the BIBLIOTHEQUE DU ROI; both as respects its dead and its living treasures. It remains to be seen how this sketch will be completed.—- and I hereby give you notice, that my next letter will contain some account of a few of the more ancient, curious, and splendid MANUSCRIPTS—to be followed by a second letter, exclusively devoted to a similar account of the PRINTED BOOKS. If I execute this task according to my present inclinations—and with the disposition which I now feel, together with the opportunities which have been afforded me—it will not, I trust, be said that I have been an idle or unworthy visitor of this magnificent collection.

[16] [Mons. Crapelet takes fire at the above passage: simply because he misunderstands it. In not one-word, or expression of it, is there any thing which implies, directly or indirectly, that "it would be difficult to find another public establishment where the officers are more active, more obliging, more anxious to satisfy the Public than in the above." I am talking only of dress—and commending the silk stockings of Mons. Van Praet at the expense of those by whom he is occasionally surrounded.]

[17] So, even NOW: 1829.

[18] In the year 1814, the late M. Millin published a dissertation upon this medal, to which he prefixed an engraving of the figure of Louis. There can indeed be but one opinion that the Engraving is unworthy of the Original.

[For an illustration of the Medallic History of France, I scarcely recollect any one object of Art which would be more gratifying, as well as apposite, than a faithful Engraving of such a Medal: and I call upon my good friend M. DU CHESNE to set such a History on foot. There is however another medal, of the same Monarch, of a smaller size, but of equal merit of execution, which has been selected to grace the pages of this second edition—in the OPPOSITE PLATE. The inscription is as follows: LUDOVICO XII. REGNANTE CAESARE ALTERO. GAUDET OMNIS NATIO: from which it is inferred that the Medal was struck in consequence of the victory of Ravenna, or of Louis's triumphant campaigns in Italy. A short but spirited account is given of these campaigns in Le Noir's Musee des Monumens Francais, tome ii. p. 145-7.]

[19] ["And it is Mr. DIBDIN who makes this confession! Let us render justice to his impartiality on this occasion. Such a confession ought to cause some regret to those who go to seek engravings in London." CRAPELET, vol. ii. p. 89. The reader shall make his own remark on the force, if there be any, of this gratuitous piece of criticism of the French Translator.]

[20] [And, till within these few months, those of the REV. DR. NICOLL, Regius Professor of the Hebrew Language! That amiable and modest and surprisingly learned Oriental Scholar died in the flower of his age (in his 36th year) to the deep regret of all his friends and acquaintances, and, I had well nigh said, to the irreparable loss of the University.]

[21] ["This observation is just; and it is to be hoped that they will soon carry into execution the Royal ordonance of October, 1816, which appropriates the apartments of the Treasury, contiguous, to be united to the establishment, as they become void. However, what took place in 1825, respecting some buildings in the Rue Neuve des Petits Champs, forbids us to suppose that this wished for addition will take place." CRAPELET, p. 93.]

[22] [M. Crapelet admits the propriety of such a suggested improvement; and hopes that government will soon take it up for the accommodation of the Visitors—who sometimes are obliged to wait for a vacancy, before they can commence these researches.]

[23] [Mons. Crapelet estimates the number of these splendid volumes (in 1825,) at "more than six thousand!"]

[24] [M. Crapelet might have considered this confession as a reason, or apology, sufficient for not entering into all those details or descriptions, which he seems surprised and vexed that I omitted to travel into.]

[25] An enquiry into the History of Engraving upon Copper and in Wood, 1816, 4to. 2 vol. by W.Y. Ottley. Mr. Ottley, in vol. i. p. 90, has given the whole of the original cut: while in the first volume p. iii. of the Bibliotheca Spenceriana, only the figure and date are given.

[26] Idee generale d'une Collection complette des Estampes. Leips. 1771. 8vo.

[27] Since the above was written, the RIVAL ST. CRISTOPHER have been placed side by side. When Lord Spencer was at Paris, last year, (1819,) on his return from Italy—he wrote to me, requesting I would visit him there, and bring St. Christopher with me. That Saint was therefore, in turn, carried across the water—and on being confronted with his name-sake, at the Royal Library ... it was quite evident, at the first glance, as M. Du Chesne admitted—that they were impressions taken from different blocks. The question therefore, was, after a good deal of pertinacious argument on both sides—which of the two impressions was the MORE ANCIENT? Undoubtedly it was that of Lord[B] Spencer's.

[B] [The reasons, upon which this conclusion was founded, are stated at length in the preceding edition of this work: since which, I very strongly incline to the supposition that the Paris impression is a proof—of one of the cheats of DE MURR.]

[28] He died in 1824 and a notice of his Life and Labours appeared in the Annales Encyclopediques.

[29] "M. Dibdin may well make the fourth copy—as to size." CRAPELET, p. 115.



Paris, June 14, 1818.

As I promised, at the conclusion of my last, you shall accompany me immediately to the ROYAL LIBRARY; and taking down a few of the more ancient MANUSCRIPTS relating to Theology—especially those, which, from age, art, or intrinsic worth, demand a more particular examination—we will both sit down together to the enjoyment of what the librarians have placed before us. In other words, I shall proceed to fill up the outline (executed with a hurrying pencil) which was submitted to you in my previous letter. First, therefore, for


Quatuor Evangelia. "Codex Membranaceus, Olim Abbatiae S. Medardi Suessionensis in uncialibus litteris et auricis scriptus. Saec. VI." The preceding is written in an old hand, inserted in the book. It is a folio volume of unquestionably great antiquity; but I should apprehend that it is antedated by at least two centuries. It is full of embellishment, of a varied and splendid character. The title to each Gospel is in very large capital letters of gold, upon a purple ground: both the initial letter and the border round the page being elaborately ornamented. The letter prefixed to St. Matthew's Gospel is highly adorned, and in very good taste. Each page consists of two columns, in capital letters of gold, throughout: within borders of a quiet purple, or lilac tint, edged with gold. It has been said that no two borders are alike altogether. A portrait of each Evangelist is prefixed to the title; apparently coeval with the time: the composition is rather grotesque; the colours are without any glaze, and the perspective is bad.

LATIN BIBLE OF CHARLES THE BALD. Folio. When this volume was described by me, on a former occasion,[30] from merely printed authorities, of course it was not in my power to do it, if I may so speak, "after the life,"—for although nearly ten centuries have elapsed since this Bible has been executed, yet, considering its remote age, it may be said to be fresh and in most desirable condition. The authority, just hinted at, notices that this magnificent volume was deposited in the library by Baluze, the head librarian to Colbert; but a note in that eminent man's hand writing, prefixed, informs us that the Canons of the Cathedral church at Metz made Colbert a present of it.

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