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figures near the door of the inn where we were changing horses, my brother burst into an immoderate fit of laughter, in which I could not refrain from joining. A bystander, instead of being angry at the merriment we enjoyed at the expense of his countrymen, exclaimed, with much good humour, “ J'aime ce joli musique."
On reaching Avignon we went to the Table d'Hôte, where we found a large company, all of whom appeared to be natives of France, and other parts of the Continent. I found myself seated next to a gentleman of remarkably grave aspect, and dignified manners, dressed in a Spanish cloak. Never having studied Spanish, I addressed him in French, which he perfectly understood ; and we held much conversation on different subjects. At last, to my great astonishment, he said, in English, with a very northern accent, “ Your fellow-travel. ler and you suppose that you are the only Scotsmen at table; but I also have the honour to come from Scotland." He proceeded to explain the circumstances under which he left his native country; adding, that he was now partner in a Scotch commercial house at Cadiz. While we were congratulating each other on this accidental rencontre, the gentleman who presided at the table inquired the cause of our satisfaction; and when it was explained to him, he immediately requested silence, and addressed me to the following effect : “ We rejoice, Sir, to hear that you and your companion are Scotsmen. No race of people is more respected at Avignon. On the expulsion of the Stuarts, a number of their partizans settled here, where they have left descendants much esteemed, and who are proud of their Scotch extraction. delighted in the opportunity of shewing attention to the natives of your country. They will always find a cordial
reception at Avignon.” He then gave as a toast, “ Success to Scotland, and its worthy inhabitants.” The sentiment was drank with much enthusiasm.
From Avignon I proceeded with my brother to Aix en Provence, where the climate, instead of being warmer than that
of Scotland, proved at the season of the year
when we came there, to be much colder and more disagreeable than that to which we had been accustomed. Not taking those precautions against the weather to which the natives attended, I soon suffered for my imprudence. Dressed in silk stockings and thin shoes, I ventured to walk about, and soon got frost-bitten. Having never heard of such an accident in Scotland, I was quite unprepared for it, and treated it with such neglect, that in March, when I returned to Paris, I escaped with much difficulty the necessity of having one of my toes amputated. This led me to lay down a rule, which I have since carefully attended to, and which I recommend to every traveller: 66
Adopt as much as possible the customs of the country where you reside, in regard to clothing, diet, and hours; you will thus avoid diseases and accidents to which you must otherwise be liable.” There is an excellent old maxim to the same effect: 66 Live at Rome as the Romans live."
TOUR IN 1785-6.
DURING the Christmas holidays in 1785, after much severe parliamentary duty, I was induced, partly for the sake of a little relaxation and amusement, to take a short excursion to Paris. I had it likewise much at heart to collect useful information, but I found this attended with greater difficulties than I had expected. The Parisians then dined at 2 o'clock, so that little could be done before dinner. After dinner nothing but amusement was attended to. The streets were narrow and crowded, and from the want of pavements, there was no walking with safety, as in London. The horses were indifferent, and so ill fed that they were soon knocked up; and people of rank did not live together, but were scattered over the whole town. I do not recollect, however, having spent six weeks, on the whole, more pleasantly or more usefully. I was then in the prime of life, a member of the British House of Commons, and known as an author on financial and other political subjects. Hence my reception among the various interesting classes with which Paris then abounded, was in the highest degree gratifying.
My fellow travellers from London to Paris were very interesting characters :
1. Montgolfier.—The most distinguished was Joseph Montgolfier, the elder and the most ingenious of the two brothers who had originally thought of constructing a balloon. I found him possessed of a great fund of natural good sense, and of much acquired knowledge. He was a great chemist, an able arithmetician, and was conversant in many branches of belles lettres. On the whole, he was certainly one of the ablest and best informed men I had ever met with. He was thoroughly master of the Newtonian philosophy, and always spoke of Newton with the profoundest respect. Like him, he was often so immersed in study, that he became totally abstracted in it; and I witnessed, on the road to Paris, many unaffected instances of absence of mind. It was about the year 1767, that the two brothers first conceived the idea of constructing something that would float in the air. They had made, however, no attempt for that purpose, until Dr Black had published his discoveries in regard to the different kinds of air, and the superior lightness by which some of them were distinguished. The merit of the discovery, Montgolfier always said, was principally owing to Dr Black's writings. I pressed him to give the world an account of its origin and progress. His answer was, “ My time must be otherwise employed. It is my business to make, and not to print on paper.” I remarked to him, “ In one respect you are more fortunate than even Columbus. Vous avez decouvrez Columbia, et elle ne pas nomme l'Amerique. You have all the direct merit of the discovery, though others may have indirectly contributed to it.”
What a disgrace to France, that it did not render such a man independent !
When we came to Dover, we amused ourselves with discussing the various modes of crossing from England to France. That by means of a balloon gave rise to some pleasantries. We afterwards discussed the idea of having a wooden floating bridge, ten feet wide, and ten feet high; the passage being 25 miles broad, Montgolfier calculated that it would require 14,000,000 feet of oak, which at 2s. 6d. foot, (the price of oak in France at that time), would amount to L.1,750,000. Montgolfier therefore contended, that for L.3,000,000 Sterling at the utmost, a wooden floating bridge might be constructed from Dover to Calais, on a larger scale than the one originally proposed, which would defy any tempest that could arise. The interruption to navigation, however, was an insurmountable obstacle to such an attempt. It was amusing, after this discussion, to hear in a farce acted in one of the Theatres at Paris, the following lines put into the mouth of a projector,
“ Pour dompter les Anglois, « Il faut battre un pont sur les Pas de Calais.” We likewise discussed the idea of having a subterraneous passage under the Channel ; but the procuring of air was a difficulty that could not easily be got the better of. The only means we could contrive for getting that obstacle surmounted, was, to compress air in barrels, and transmit it in that state, to be let out in the centre of the excavation. It was the discussion we had upon this subject which has ever since made me extremely partial to the idea of trying excavations, and more especially the Tunnel under the Thames.
my fellow travellers was Monsieur Reveillon, a celebrated maker of paper, whose manufactory was certainly one of the objects the best worth seeing in Paris. He employed between 300 and 400 workmen; his goods excelled those of England in beauty, and his painted
2. Rereillon. Another of
hangings in particular were quite inimitable. Having begun with nothing, he had by this time accumulated, by his ingenuity and industry, L.40,000, and it was expected that he would soon become the richest citizen in Paris. His house was most magnificent, (equalling Devonshire House in size), and he insisted on my remaining with him for some days, until I was accommodated with lodgings. The first balloon exhibited. in Paris was made at his manufactory, and he had no small share of merit, in executing the ideas which the two Montgolfiers had conceived regarding its construction, by which they were enabled to gratify, what otherwise they might not have had it in their power to have done, the curiosity of the Parisians regarding the new invention.
3. Specimen of a day spent in Paris, compared to one in London.—During my stay in Paris at this time, my great object was, to breakfast with the learned, -to dine with great political characters,—and to sup with the gay,—of which style of living, I find in my notes the following instance.
Soon after my arrival, I was invited to breakfast with the Count de Catuelan, to meet the celebrated Monsieur Le Roi, and other academicians. M. de Catuelan was a native of Brittany. He had one of the finest libraries in Paris, which particularly abounded with English books. His brother was first president of the parliament of Brittany, and derived great credit, from the spirit with which he supported the privileges of that respectable body against the encroachments of the Crown. The conversation was scientific and instructive, and it
gave me a very high idea of the literati of France.
On the same day I was asked to dine with the celebrated Necker. His appearance was heavy, and there was no spirit or vigour in his eye. He was very reserved, as might be expected from an ex-minister, in a very delicate situation. When I pressed him to come to England, he said that he never expected to revisit that country. It is unfortunate that the marriage between Mademoiselle Necker and Lord Rivers'