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tribute much to the romantic character of the scenery. Passing the old town of Aubagne, which is the birth-place of the celebrated Abbé Barthelemy, author of the Travels of Anacharsis the Younger, we reached Cujes in season for a bad breakfast, and remained long enough to look at the few curiosities it contains. The hotels on this road are small, dirty, and execrable; and in some of the villages containing several thousands of inhabitants, taverns of no description are to be found.
Beyond the town of Beausset, and about midway between Marseilles and Toulon, is a celebrated pass in the mountains, called Ollioules, which in wild and savage grandeur will sustain a comparison with any of those found about the Irish, English, and Scottish lakes, described in some of my former letters. The broken and rude masses of rock, shooting up in fantastic crags, to the height of 800 or 1000 feet, and impending over the path, here approach so near to one another, as to leave only room for the channel of a headlong torrent, which fills the defile with its murmurs. For a mile or two, the road is a continued terrace hanging over the stream, and winding through a region of perfect desolation, once filled with banditti. All at once, the traveller emerges from these dreary solitudes, and descends into a beautiful glen, watered by clear brooks and fountains, smiling with tillage, and blooming with flowers. The transition is sudden, and the contrast peculiarly striking. Here I saw for the first time in my life groves of oranges, growing naturally in the open air, and laden with golden fruit. The scenery was brightened by serene skies, and our senses were regaled with all the charms of spring.
From the pass of Ollioules, we were whirled onward by a rapid descent, over a smooth road, through the beautiful environs of Toulon, scarcely inferior to those of Marseilles, and presenting another charming view of the blue waters of the Mediterranean. The hills recede on either hand, stretching along the coast, and embosoming between their bases and the sea a broad, fertile plain, richly embellished by nature and art. Crossing two draw-bridges over the double moat by which the town is surrounded, and passing under the massive arched portals, which form the barrier, we rode through several of the principal streets, to the Hotel of the Golden Cross, where excellent accommodations were obtained. Here for the first time since landing at Calais, we found the windows of our rooms open, and comfortable without a fire. The climate, so far as our experience goes, is delightful, the air being soft and delicious, subject to few of the sudden changes which are felt at Marseilles. From the representations of others, as well as from my own observations, I have no doubt, that
this is by far the most eligible winter residence for invalids, in the South of France.*
On the morning after our arrival, we visited the Cathedral, and ascended to the top of its tower, for the purpose of obtaining a bird'seye view of Toulon and its environs, which from this central and elevated point are seen to the best advantage. The natural situation of the town is admirably fitted for a great military and naval depot; and men less skilled in war than Louis XIV. or Napoleon might have selected it as the bulwark of the southern frontier of France. It is surrounded towards the north by an amphitheatre of naked, impassable mountains, between two or three thousand feet in height, extending to the sea-shore on either side, and leaving only two narrow defiles, one leading from Marseilles, and the other from Nice, both easy of defence. In the centre of this semicircular basin, at the distance of perhaps a mile from the bases of the hills, and about as far from the entrance of the harbour, is the port, winding up between two promontories, completely land-locked, and alike secure from the winds and waves. To these natural advantages the most expensive works of art have been added, till the town seems inaccessible and impregnable both by land and sea. From the age of Louis XII. to the present time, millions have been appropriated. in constructing moles, fortresses, batteries, citadels, arsenals, walls, and military defences of all descriptions, which surround the harbour, and every where meet the eye. These fortifications are filled with troops, and as rigidly guarded as in time of war. The streets, quays, and public squares, swarm with military and naval officers, cadets, marines, soldiers, and sailors, who ap
*A distinguished officer of the United States Navy informed me, that during a residence of a month or two at Toulon in the coldest part of the winter of 1826, when the Rhone was choked with ice, and while even the plains of Languedoc were swept by snow-storms, he here found the weather so mild as to render a fire unnecessary to comfort. The situation of the town, encircled by mountains which intercept the winds from the north, and open to the sun as well as to temperate breezes from the south, furnishes a ready explanation of the remarkable difference of climate, in the distance of only a few miles. As Montpellier is the usual place, to which invalids from the United States as well as from Great-Britain have been recommended for the benefit of their health, I beg leave to add, in confirmation of my own opinion expressed in a former letter, the remark of Sir James Edward Smith, a physician of great eminence, whose Tour on the Continent I have perused with a high degree of satisfaction, since my return to the United States: "I do not," says he in his observations on Montpellier, "much approve of this place for invalids. Very cold and boisterous winds are not unfrequent; and the air of the neighbourhood is often infected by the marshes lying between the town and the
pear to compose a large proportion of the thirty thousand inhabitants. Swords and bayonets are seen glistening in all directions; the harbour is filled with ships of war; piles of cannon and balls cover the wharves; parades of troops, accompanied by bands of martial music, are witnessed at almost every hour of the day; and in a word, Toulon exhibits all the pomp and bustle of a fortified camp.
The old man who ascended the tower of the Cathedral with us, as a guide, was intelligent and well acquainted with the history as well as the localities of the place. He was here during the siege of 1793, when the military talents of Napoleon were first developed. The English and Spaniards took possession of the town, and held it from August till December of that year, garrisoning it with strong armies and naval forces, which they deemed impregnable. But the ge
nius and daring spirit of the young Corsican, aided by the republican legions of France, achieved what to others would seem wholly impracticable. Batteries were planted in the fastnesses of the mountains, above the reach of annoyance from the harbour, and a cannonade opened upon the town, which compelled the allied invaders to retreat. A great battle was fought upon the shore, in which 18,000 of the enemy were left upon the field.*
Since the time of this memorable siege, the ramparts of the city have been raised and strengthened, so as to shield the buildings from batteries planted without the walls. The bulwarks, gates and bridges are massive and strong beyond any thing of the kind I have ever seen; and the inhabitants of Toulon might apparently bid defiance to the combined armies of Europe. From the parapet of the double wall to the bottom of the moat, is not less than thirty or forty feet, too solid to be battered down, and too high to be scaled by the most daring enterprise. As the amount of public property, in ships, naval stores
*The Harbour of Toulon has been alternately the theatre of disastrous and splendid events. At the evacuation of the British in 1793, its waters were illuminated by the blaze of the Arsenal and of twenty-four French ships of the line, set on fire by Commodore Hood. In 1798, the great expedition under the command of Napoleon, destined for the conquest of Egypt, sailed from this port. Barron Larrey, who was an eye-witness of the scene, gives the following animated notice of the sailing of the fleet:-"All the vessels of the squadron and convoy, which were in the Toulon Road, set sail on the 19th of May, to the sound of martial music, in the midst of lively acclamations, which expressed the general satisfaction on the departure of the flag-ship, Admiral Brueix, in which were Bonaparte the commander-in-chief, the principal members of the commission of arts, and the etats-major of the two armies, comprising the physicians and principal surgeons."-Memoirs of Military Surgery, Vol. I. p. 84.
and munitions of war, here deposited, is incalculable, the sums appropriated to these works of defence cannot be considered a useless expenditure. The government of France would suffer more from the capture of Toulon, than from that of the metropolis itself.
A fortunate accident, emanating from French politeness and hospitality, afforded us an opportunity of visiting, under the most favourable circumstances, the navy-yard, armories, arsenals, and other public works at this place, to which it is extremely difficult for strangers to gain admittance, even on letters of recommendation, which none of our party had taken. At the table of the hotel at Marseilles, we became acquainted with a Surgeon in the Royal Navy, who manifested as much kindness towards us, as he did coolness towards a British officer from Gibraltar, with whom he happened to come in contact while at dinner. The latter in the course of conversation several times flatly and rudely contradicted the former; and national antipathies proceeded to such lengths, that the affair seemed likely to end in a duel. Thinking, perhaps, discretion the better part of valour, the Englishman left the table, and afterwards took his dinner in his own room. On the evening previous to his departure, the Frenchman invited us to take coffee, and a glass of liqueur with him, proposing the health of General La Fayette, the friend of our respective countries. Such a toast manifested not only the liberality but the independence of this officer in the Royal Navy, as it might cost him his commission should it come to the ears of the government. In taking leave of our circle, he invited us to visit Toulon, and politely offered any facilities that his official station afforded-a favour which was very gratefully accepted. Being notified of our arrival, this gentleman promptly called at the hotel and conducted us to his apartments, where we were requested to amuse ourselves with a new and splendid work on the ornithology of France, while he dressed himself in his sword and cocked hat, as a necessary preparation for entering the navy-yard. His uniform as Surgeon was remarkably neat, consisting of blue cloth, with trimmings of crimson velvet and gold lace. Even with his introduction, an hour was occupied in going through with the forms required before we could be admitted. Our names, residences, and other particulars were all registered at the Marine Department, and a written passport obtained, which was presented at the splendid arched gate leading to the naval depot, and forming the barrier between it and the rest of the town. The portals are lofty, and enriched with a profusion of ornament, consisting of sculptured devices and inscriptions.
The first objects which arrested our attention, on entering the navy-yard, were the crowds of galley-slaves, yoked together like cat
tle, and employed in all kinds of servile offices. Nearly all the drudgery and hard labour, such, as carrying burdens, drawing carts, towing vessels, and tugging at the oar, is performed by these miserable beings, who are condemned to the most abject servitude for life. Their sun-burnt, sweaty, dusty, and demoniac features; their fantastic caps and party-coloured costumes; and the continual clanking of their heavy iron chains, present no faint idea of a pandemonium. Although exact justice may be meted out to them, and the wretchedness of their condition may not be disproportionate to their crimes, it is a painful image constantly obtruding itself upon the observation of the visitant.
The number here imprisoned is about two thousand, a large proportion of whom were convicted of murder, distinguished from the rest by their green caps. We saw a hundred of these pass in procession, with severe but dejected countenances, on the way to their stalls, to partake of a coarse and scanty allowance. Their chains are differently worn, being in some cases fastened like fetters round the ankle, and in others, hung in festoons about the waist, loading down the poor wretches with a weight of iron, independent of their other burdens. They all wear their numbers painted upon their red flannel jackets. At night they are kept under hatches, in large hulks of vessels, called Bagnes, moored in the harbour. Some of them are ingenious mechanics and artists, who beguile the tedium of life in manufacturing baskets, boxes, and other ornaments, which they are permitted to sell for their own benefit. On the whole, with the exception of their chains, I could not perceive that they are worse used than the inmates of our own penitentiaries. An officer and commissioner of the American Navy, who passed a considerable part of the last winter at Toulon, for the express purpose of making such inquiries as might be useful to our own country, remarked to me, that he considered the employment of galley-slaves the worst feature in the French Marine, as the government of them is vexatious, and their labours by no means effective.
Our examination of the Navy-yard commenced with a visit to a large and splendid hall, used as an extensive repository of models in naval architecture. It has been long established, and contains a valuable collection of inventions and improvements, on all subjects connected with navigation. The number of articles is between one and two hundred, consisting of the most approved models of vessels and boats of all descriptions; docks; machines used in masting ships, and drawing them up for repairs. The American officer above alluded to examined this temple of the arts with minute attention; and if it contains any thing worthy of imitation, he will doubtless recom