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nisters are always preaching, and the governors putting out edicts against dancing, gaming, entertainments, and fine clothes. This is become more necessary in some of the governments, since there are so many refugees settled among them; for, though the Protestants in France affect ordinarily a greater plainness and simplicity of manners than those of the same quality who are of the Roman Catholic communion, they have, however, too much of their country gallantry for the genius and constitution of Switzerland. Should dressing, feasting, and balls, once get among the cantons, their military roughness would be quickly lost, their tempers would grow too soft for their climate, and their expences outrun their incomes; besides, that the materials for their luxury must be brought from other nations, which would immediately ruin a country that has but few commodities of its own to export, and is not overstocked with money. Luxury, indeed, wounds a republic in its very vitals, as its natural consequences are rapine, avarice, and injustice; for the more money a man spends, the more must he endeavour to augment his stock; which, at last, sets the liberty and votes of a commonwealth to sale, if they find any foreign power that is able to pay the price of them. We see no where the pernicious effects of luxury on a republic more than in that of the ancient Romans, who immediately found itself poor as soon as this vice got footing among them, though they were possessed of all the riches in the world. We find in the beginnings and increases of their commonwealth, strange instances of the contempt of money, because, indeed, they were utter strangers to the pleasures that might be procured by it; or, in other words, because they were wholly ignorant of the arts of luxury. But as soon as they once entered into a state of pleasure, politeness, and magnificence, they fell into a thousand violences, conspiracies, and divisions, that threw them into al} the disorders imaginable, and terminated in the utter subversion of the commonwealth.
It is no
wonder, therefore, the poor commonwealths of Swit. zerland are ever labouring at the suppression and prohibition of every thing that may introduce vanity and luxury. Besides, the several fines that are set upon plays, games, balls, and feastings, they have many customs among them which very much contribute to the keeping up of their ancient simplicity. The bourgeois, who are at the head of their governments, are obliged to appear at all their public assemblies in a black cloak and a band. The women's dress is very plain, those of the best quality wearing nothing on their heads generally but furs, which are to be met with in their own country. The persons of different qualities in both sexes are, indeed, allowed their different ornaments, but these are generally such as are by no means costly, being rather designed as marks of distinction than to make a figure. The chief officers of Berne, for example, are known by the crowns of their hats, which are much deeper than those of an inferior character. The peasants are generally clothed in a coarse kind of canvas, that is the manufacture of the country. Their holiday clothes go from father to son, and are seldom worn out, till the second or third generation: so that it is common enough to see a countryman in the doublet and breeches of his great-grandfather.
Geneva is much politer than Switzerland, or any of its allies, and is therefore looked upon as the court of the Alps, whither the Protestant cantons often send their children to improve themselves in language and education. The Genevois have been very much refined, or, as others will have it, corrupted by the conversation of the French Protestants, who make up almost a third of their people. It is certain they have very much forgotten the advice that Calvin gave them in a great council a little before his death, when he recommended to them, above all things, an exemplary modesty and humility, and as great a simplicity in their manners as in their religion. Whether or no they have done well, to set up for making another kind of figure, time will witness. There are several that fancy the great sums they have remitted into Italy, though by this means they make their court to the king of France at present, may some time or other give him an inclination to become the master of so wealthy a city.
As this collection of little states abounds more in pasturage than in corn, they are all provided with their public granaries, and have the humanity to furnish one another in public exigencies, when the scarcity is not universal. As the administration of affairs relating to these public granaries is not very different in
any of the particular governments, I shall content myself to set down the rules observed in it by the little commonwealth of Geneva, in which I had more time to inform myself of the particulars than in any other. There are three of the little council deputed for this office. They are obliged to keep together a provision sufficient to feed the people at least two years, in case of war or famine. They must take care to fill their magazines in times of the greatest plenty, that so they may afford cheaper, and increase the public revenue at a small expence of its members.
of its members. None of the three managers must, upon any pretence, furnish the granaries from his own fields, that so they may have no temptation to pay too great a price, or put any bad corn upon the public. They must buy up no corn growing within twelve miles of Geneva, that so the filling their magazines may not prejudice their market, and raise the price of their provisions at home. That such a collection of corn may not spoil in keeping, all the inns and public-houses are obliged to furnish themselves out of it, by which means is raised the most considerable branch of the public revenues; the corn being sold out at a much dearer rate than it is bought up: so that the greatest income of the commonwealth, which pays the pensions of most of its officers and ministers, is raised on strangers and travel
lers, or such of their own body as have money enough to spend at taverns and public-houses.
It is the custom in Geneva and Switzerland to divide their estates equally among all their children, by which means every one lives at his ease without growing dangerous to the republic, for as soon as an overgrown estate falls into the hands of one that has many children, it is broken into so many portions as render the sharers of it rich enough, without raising them too much above the level of the rest. This is absolutely necessary in these little republics, where the rich merchants live very much within their estates, and, by heaping up vast sums from year to year, might become formidable to the rest of their fellow-citizens, and break the equality, which is so necessary in these kinds of governments, were there not means found out to distribute their wealth among several members of their republic. At Geneva, for instance, are merchants reckoned worth twenty hundred thousand crowns, though, perhaps, there is not one of them who spends to the value of five hundred pounds a year.
Though the Protestants and Papists know very well that it is their common interest to keep a steady neutrality in all the wars between the states of Europe, they cannot forbear siding with a party in their dis
The Catholics are zealous for the French king, as the Protestants do not a little glory in the riches, power, and good success, of the English and Dutch, whom they look upon as the bulwarks of the Reformation. The ministers, in particular, have often preached against such of their fellow-subjects as enter into the troops of the French king; but so long as the Swiss see their interest in it, their poverty will always hold them fast to his service. They have, indeed, the exercise of their religion, and their ministers with them, which is the more remarkable, because the very same prince refused even those of the church of England, who followed their master to St. Germains, the public exercise of their religion. Vol. V.
Before I leave Switzerland, I cannot but observe, that the notion of witchcraft reigns very much in this country. I have often been tired with accounts of this nature from very sensible men, who are most of them furnished with matters of fact which happened, as they pretend, within the compass of their own knowledge. It is certain there have been many executions on this account, as in the canton of Bernc there were some put to death during my stay at Ge
The people are so universally infatuated with the notion, that, if a cow falls sick, it is ten to one but an old woman is clapped up in prison for it, and if the poor creature chance to think herself a witch, the whole country is for hanging her up without mercy. One finds, indeed, the same humour prevail in most of the rocky, barren parts of Europe. Whether it be that poverty and ignorance, which are generally the products of these countries, may really engage a wretch in such dark practices, or whether or no the same principles may not render the people too credulous, and, perhaps, too easy to get rid of their unprofitable members.
A great affair that employs the Swiss politics at present is the prince of Conti's succession to the duchess of Nemours in the government of Neufchatel. The inhabitants of Neufchatel can by no means think of submitting themselves to a prince who is a Roman Catholic, and a subject of France. They were very attentive to his conduct in the principality of Orange, which they did not question but he would rule with all the mildness and moderation imaginable, as it would be the best means in the world to recommend him to Neufchatel. But, notwithstanding it was so much his interest to manage his Protestant subjects in that country, and the strong assurances he had given them in protecting them in all their privileges, and particularly in the free exercise of their religion, he made over his principality in a very little time for a sum of money to the king of France. It is, indeed,