Page images

city, so that no small part of it stands over vast cavities. The two most noted bridges, are the Pontneuf, consisting of 12 arches, and the Pont Royal ; most of them have rows of houses on the sides. Paris contains more than 900 streets; and the population is estimated by different authors, at four, six, seven and eight hundred thousand souls.

229. Edifices. The streets of Paris are well paved and lighted, and the buildings are in a style of superior elegance. Many of the public edifices are in the noblest style of architecture. Among these are the Louvre, a palace, rebuilt, but not finished, by Lewis XIV. This is joined by a gallery to the Thuilleries, behind which, on the bank of the Seine, are most pleasant walks in elegant gardens, planted with evergrcens and stately elms. The Palace Royal contains an immense number of valuable paintings. The Royal Library contains 94,000 printed books and 30,000 manuscripts. The Cathedral of Notre Dame, is a venerable Gothic pile ; but the public buildings are too numerous to be here described.

230. Lyons. The second city in France is Lyons, at the confluence of the Rhone and Soane, which was formerly the seat of numerous manufactures of silk and cioths, wrought with gold and silver. During the late revolution, Lyons favored the cause of monarchy, and was doomed, in the phrenzy of the times, to utter destruction. The republicans besieged and took the city, butchered multitudes of the inhabitants without mercy, and proceeded to execute the decree of the convention, which ordered the houses to be demolished. But rage and folly have their limits and a part of the city escaped. The inhabitants were formerly 150,000, but the population has been greatly reduced.

231. Marseilles. Marseilles, a sea port on the Mediterranean, was founded by a colony of Greeks from Phocea, who fled from the tyranny of the Persians, about the year 539 before the christian era. It is surrounded by a rocky barren country, but has an excellent harbor and great commerce. The old town is ill built ; but the new town erected in the 18th century, is distinguished for regularity and elegance. The inhabitants are estimated at 80,000, who carry on commerce, and manufactures of silk.

232. Bourdeaux. Bourdeaux is an ancient city, on the Garonne, built in the form of a bow, of which the river is the string. The tide rises there twelve feet, so that the largest vessels can ascend the river to the city. It is a bishop's see, has a university, an academy of arts, and a magnificent theater. The town has twelve gates, a strong castle, called the Trumpet, with a noble quay for securing the shipping, and fine walks under rows of trees. The river is large, and the hills on the opposit side planted with vinyards and adorned with churches, villas and woods, present a charming prospect from the town. The population is about 80,000, and the commerce very extensive.

233. Other large Towns. Rouen, the chief city of Normandy, upon the Seine, contains 70,000 inhabitants. Lille, in the north, one of the best fortified towns in the world, contains nearly the same number. Toulouse, upon the Garonne, at the end of the Royal Canal, con. tains 60,000 inhabitants. Versailles, 12 miles from Paris, contains a like number. Nantz, a commercial city on the Loire, contains also 60,000 people. Brest, on the north west, contains a naval arsenal, with the chief harbor for ships of war; its inhabitants 30,000.Toulon, on the south, another maritime town, contains about the same number

234. Inland Navigation France contains many ca. nals for facilitating inland transportation. Among the largest is the canal of Beirare or Burgundy, which contains 42 locks, and opens a communication between the Seine and Loire. It passes Montargis, joins the canal of Orleans,and enters the Seine ncar Fontainbleau ; opening a water conveyance between Paris and the western parts of France. The canal of Picardy connects the Oise and the Somme, and opens a communication with the north of France. But the canal of Languedoc, formed by Lewis XIV. exceeds all others in France. It passes from the Garonne to the Mediterranean Sea, a distance of 180 miles ; is six feet deep, and 144 feet wide,

including the towing paths. It required 15 years labor, and an expense of more than two millions of dollars.

235. Agriculture. The northern parts of France have a rich soil, chiefly loam ; the western parts are more gravelly. But France is generally under high cultivation, tho not to the same degree as England. Wheat, barley, oats, and every grain and plant proper for the climate, is cultivated. Maiz thrives and comes to perfection in the southern half of France, but not in the northern parts. The vine is cultivated in most parts, as is the olive in the south. But France is subject to most destructive storms of hail, which not unfrequently lay waste the country, and destroy the fruits of the earth in whole provinces.

236. Manufactures. The manufactures of France extend to almost every thing necessary or ornamental in life. The manufactures for exports are chiefly silks of various kinds. In 1773, there were in France 1500 silk mills ; 21,000 looms for weaving silk stuffs ; 12,000 fox ribands and lace ; 20,000 for silk stockings ; and these manufactures alone gave employment to two millions of persons. France also manufactures woollen cloths, which for fineness and color are superior to the English.

237. Commerce. The commerce of France is very great in time of peace ; but in war, is very much im. paired by the British navy, and carried on almost solely by neutral ships. Wine is the staple commodity for exportation; of which France makes a great variety, as champaign, burgundy, muscat, pontac, frontigniac, and many other species. Olive oil, which is produced in the southern provinces of Provence and Languedoc, now the departments of Tarn and Var, is a considerable article of export. The principal imports of France are coffee, sugar, tobacco, rice, tea, whale oil and fish. The commerce of France has suffered exceedingly by the loss of Hayti, one of the most productive islands on the globe. The annual amount of exports before the revo. lution was from 60 to 70 millions of dollars, and that of the imports from 50 to 60 millions.

238. Islands of France. On the western coast of France, opposit to the mouth of the Charente, lies Oleron, which is about 12 miles long and five wide; containing 12,000 inbabitants, many of whom are excellent seamen. This island is celebrated for the maritime laws made there by Richard I. when he possessed it.Re, or Rhe, 3 leagues westward of Rochelle, contains 6 parishes; its productions are wine and salt. Ushant, which lies off the north western coast, is 9 miles in circumference, and contains about 600 inhabitants. Bel. lisle, opposit the river Vilaine, is 8 leagues in length, and three in bredth. Noirmoutier, which is 7 leagues in circumference, was the place of retreat for the royalists during the late civil war.

239. Islands in the Mediterranean. Nearly opposit to Toulon, are the Hieres, three small islands, which are mostly barren rocks, but produce a variety of medicinal plants. Corsica, which lies south of Genoa, and north of Sardinia, from which it is separated by a strait of 7 miles in bredth, is 150 miles in length, and from 40 to 50 in bredth. It is rocky and mountainous, but has fer.' tile valleys. Its honey has been celebrated from ancient times. It has good harbors, and contains 160,000 inhabitants. It has been successively in possession of Greek colonies, of Carthage, the Romans, the Saracens, and the Genoese. It was sold by the latter to France, in 1767, whose dominion was unsuccessfully opposed by the celebrated Paoli. In 1794, the English took it, but the French retook it in 1796. The chief town is Bastia.

SPAIN. 240. Name. Spain was known to the Phenicians, who planted colonies at Cadiz and Malaga, nearly nine centuries before the christian era. It was probably the Tarsish of scripture ; a small island near Cadiz, and indeed Cadiz itself, bore the name of Tartessus, among the Greeks and Romans. In later times, it was called Iberia, from the river Ebro, or the Iberi of Africa, who settled there ; and by the Romans Hesperia, or western country. But the more general and permanent name

has ever been Hispania, or Spain, which is said to be a Phenician word signifying rabit, as the country abounded with those animals. · 24). History. The primitive inhabitants of Spain were of the same race as those of France, and passed under the denomination of Celts. The Phenicians, who were the earliest navigators, built Cadiz, and opened a trade to Spain about the year 896, before the christian era. After that period, the Carthaginians took possession of the eastern and southern shores of Spain, being invited by the rich mines of gold and silver with which that country abounded. In the third century before Christ, the Romans expelled the Carthaginians and gradually reduced Spain to their dominion. About the year 400 after Christ, Spain was invaded by the Vandals and Suevi, who established their power in the country. Their empire, in its turn, was overthrown about the year 584, by the Visigoths, who kept possession till the beginning of the 8th century, when the Saracens or Moors from Africa, subdued the Goths, and maintained their dominion in the south of Spain, for 800 years, when they were subdued by the christians.

242. Situation. Spain, with Portugal, is a large peninsula, bounded by the Atlantic on the west, by the Mediterranean on the south and east, and by the Bay of Biscay and France on the north. The neck of land which joins it to France, consists of the lofty Pyrenees, which form a strong barrier between the two countries.

243. Extent. Spain lies between the 36th and 44th degrees of north latitude; and between the 9th west, and 3d east longitude. On the north the length is about 600 miles, but on the south about 400 miles. From north to south the bredth is about 500 miles. The estimated contents are 148,000 square miles, or 95 millions of akers, and the population about eleven millions, or 74 inhabitants to the square mile.

244. Climate. Spain enjoys a mild climate, as in ordinary winters, no frost or snow appears in the southern provinces. In severe winters, the earth is covered with snow, and the rivers with ice for a short time. In summei, the heat is oppressive in the south, and the cit.

« PreviousContinue »