Page images
PDF
EPUB

clocks that night were put forward, so that, passing the hour of one, they struck two, and the enemy thinking the hour was passed, abandoned the design. Whatever may have been the origin, the present existence of the fact exhibits, in a strong light, the force of custom, even in palpable absurdities. 367. Bern. Bern, the chief town of the canton of the same name, is said to have its name from the taking of a bear, on the day it was founded, and it has the figure of a bear for its coat of arms. It is situated upon the Aar, which almost surrounds it. The houses are mostly of white free-stone, and in the principal streets have piazzas in front, to cover the foot walks. It contains a college with eight professors, a public library, a museum, a public granary, an arsenal and hospitals. In the arsenal is a wooden statue of Tell, which represents him as taking aim at the apple on the head of his son. The streets are broad and clean; the city well watered with streams and fountains, and the adjacent country fertile. Its inhabitants are estimated at 13,000. 368. Zurich. Zurich, the capital of the canton, is situated at the end of the lake of the same name, where it issues in the limpid stream of the Limmat. It is said to have its name from Thuricus, the son of Theodoric, king of the Goths, who rebuilt it after it was ruined by the Huns. It contains a college with 15 professors; five arsenals, a library, a museum, and a town-house, with pillars of black marble streaked with white. The houses are well built, but not magnificent, and the country around the city is fertile and populous. The inhabitants of both sexes are so fond of music that most of them can play on some instrument. If a burgher goes out of the town, or a peasant enters it, without a sword, he is liable to a fine. All persons are subjected to sumptuary laws. 369. Smaller towns. Lausanne, half a league from the lake of Geneva, is delightfully situated on a rugged spot of earth; is the chief town in the Vaud, and contains 9000 inhabitants. Friburg and Schaffhausen contain each about 6000 inhabitants. Lucerne, Solothura and a few others from 3 to 5000 each. St. Gal is a city of some consequence, which has a rich abbey and a library, in which were found some of the Roman classics. 370. Geneva. Geneva was formerly a republic, in alliance with Swisserland, but now in possession of France. It lies on the southern extremity of the lake of the same name, or lake Leman, at the egress of the Rhone which passes through the city. It is irregularly built, and contains 25,000 inhabitants. It very early embraced the christian faith, and was one of the first citics to adopt the reformation under Calvin. It has a library of 25,000 volumes, open for all the citizens, who are remarkably well informed. 37 l. Manufactures and commerce. The manufactures of Swisserland are chiefly linens, silk, printed cottons, and watches. Being entirely inland, the Swiss have no foreign trade ; but export some of their manufactures, especially watches. Their cattle and cheese constitute also articles of commerce.

GERMANY.

372. General View. Germany anciently comprehended all the country from the Baltic to Helvetia, and from the Rhine to the Vistula. But its eastern part being settled by the Slavons, is now called Poland. Its present extent is about 600 miles in length, from north to south, and 500 in bredth from east to west. Its latitude from 45 to 55 north, and its longitude from 5 to 19 east. It is bounded by the Rhine on the west; by Denmark and the Baltic on the north ; by Poland and Hungary on the east, and by Swisserland on the south. Its population is about 25 millions of souls.

373. Divisions of Germany. The common division of Germany is into nine circles, viz. Upper Saxony, Lower Saxony, Westphalia, Upper Rhine, Lower Rhine, Franconia, Bavaria, Swabia and Austria. To these may be added the kingdom of Bohemia, the Marquisate of Moravia, both belonging to the Emperor of Austria; and the Marquisate of Lusatia, belonging to the Elector of Saxony, and Silesia, which now belongs to the king of Prussia. But these divisions do not mark exactly the limits of all the states of Germany; which is divided into about three hundred small principalities. 374. History. The southern and western parts of Germany, and probably the whole of it, were primitively settled by the Celts. But we have little knowledge of that country, till after the conquests of the Romans had made them acquainted with the country about the Rhine. Some ages before that time, the Goths or Teutons had migrated from the eastern part of Europe, along the Euxine, and established themselves on the shores of the Baltic, in Belgica, in the north of France, and the south of England; driving the original inhabitants into the northern and western regions. Germany is said to be compounded of the Celtic word ger, brave, and man, denoting a warlike people. 375. Mountains. The principal mountains in Germany are those of Erzgeberg, which run between Saxony and Bohemia. This range is not very high, but rich in valuable metals. The Blocksberg in the forest of Hartz, rises in the form of an amphitheater; the higest summit 3,000 feet. This mountain is also rich in metals. The Hessian territories are mountainous; and other parts of Germany contain bergs, or mountains.— To the south of the river Mayn, is the Bergtrass, near Manheim ; the mountains of Wurtemburg, and the mountains between the Danube and Neckar, in which are the sources of those rivers, and on which is the Black Forest. These are called the Swabian Alps.Bavaria is also mountainous; but the north of Germany is mostly a level country, 376. Rivers. The Rhine, which has its sources in the Alps, as before mentioned, separates Germany from France. It is a large navigable river of 600 miles in length, which enters the ocean in Belgica. It receives the Neckar, a considerable stream which proceeds from the Black Forest, and rurs a winding course of 150 miles. A larger tributary river is the Mayn, which has two principal sources, one on the mountain call:d Fitchtelburg, the other in Bareuth, and passing Frankfort, enters the Rhine above Mentz. On the west it receives the Moselle; besides many lesser rivers from the east and west. 377. The Danube. The Danube, next to the Volga, the largest river in Europe, rises in the mountains of Swabia, and receiving from the south, the Ker, the Lech, the Iser, the Inn, the Drave and the Save ; and from the north, the Nab, the Altmul, the Theisa, the Sereth, and the Pruth, with innumerable smaller streams; it enters the Euxine sea, after a course of about 1400 miles. This river becomes navigable above Ulm, where it receives the Ker, and swells to such a size and depth, that ships of the line have fought a battle upon it near Belgrade. 378. The Elbe and Weser. The Elbe has its sources in the Sudetic mountains between Bohemia and Moravia, and penetrating the Erzgeberg mountains, it passes Hamburg and enters the north sea, at Cuxhaven, after a course of 500 miles. It receives the Mulda, the Eger, the Sala, and the large river Havel, and has upon its banks the cities of Dresden, Meissen, Wittenberg, Magdeburg, and Hamburg. To the west of the Elbe, runs the Weser, which has its sources in the Werra and the Fulda, and runs a course of 270 miles. to the North Sea. It receives the Aller from Brunswick, and has upon its banks Minden and Bremen. 379. Forests. Anciently Germany was mostly covered with wood, and the Roman writers mention the Hercynian forest, which spread over a large country through the center of Germany. South of the Mayn is the Black Forest in Swabia. Numerous woods called Walds still remain in various parts of Germany, as the walds of Dromling, Sollinger, Hartz, Lutten, Thuringia and Spessart. These forests are reserved by the German nobles to furnish them with the amusements of the chase.

STATES OF GERMANY. , 380. Saxony. In the north of Germany are the territories of the Elector of Saxony, about 220 miles inlength and 130 in bredth. This division takes its name fi on the Saxons, a powerful nation of Teutonic origin, who peopled the west and north of Germany, and who conquered England after the Romans abandoned the country. The population of Saxony is estimated at nearly 2 millions of souls, and its revenues at 5 millions of dollars. 381. General view of Saxony. Saxony is the most populous and well cultivated part of Germany. The inhabitants are Protestants, distinguished for their learning and industry. Their language is esteemed the purest dialect of the Teutonic; and Leipsick is the great mart of German literature, where there is a university and three annual fairs for the sale of books. The land produces all kinds of grain, and plants suited to the climate. The manufactures are linens, thred, laces, ribbands, velvets, carpets, paper, glass and porcelain. Saxony contains also mines rich in metals of various kinds, as silver, iron, copper, lead and tin. The mines near Fridburg produce silver to the amount of 1200 dollars daily. 382. Chief Cities. The capital of Saxony is Dresden, situated upon the Elbe, which divides it into two parts, connected by a bridge. The houses are built of square free-stone ; the streets are wide, strait and well paved; and the city is adorned with handsome squares. The Elector's palace is a magnificent structure abounding with curiosities, and containing a valuable collection of pictures. The population is estimated by some authors at 50,000; and by others at 100,000 souls. The court of the Elector is very splendid, and the city is distinguished for a porcelain manufacture. 383. Leifisick. Leipsick is a large town seated on a plain between the rivers Muld and Saal, containing 40,000 inhabitants, is well fortified, and celebrated for its universities and its fair for the sale of books. These fairs are held at the beginning of the year, at Easter, and at Michaelmas; and here booksellers attend from every part of Germany, for the purpose of buying or selling. The city carries on also manufactures of gold and silver stuffs, silk, wool and linen, and its trade is extensive,

s

« PreviousContinue »