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Travelling Memorandums, continued from page 199. As I am a lover of dramatic entertainments, I hoped to find at Paris fome modern pieces in a better tafte, lefs in the quaint and outrè style, than many of these, which, of late years, have been applauded at London;
hitherto I am difappointed.-They earnestly ftudy to imitate nature:-But to ufe Shakespeare's expreffion, -they either overdo or come tardy off for want of that rare and precious gift of nature,-the power of original genius. So, like ours, their dramatic productions are not eafy imitations, but ftrained affectations of nature.→→→ They resemble us too in quaintnefs for wit, and the outré in place of fublime.-Voltaire himfelt, with all his fame, abounds in those modern qualities of excellence, in dramatic compofition, and in his Henriade We feem to have formed infenfibly a fort of treaty of dramatic commerce.- -We mutually borrow fantastical plays from each other.
This harmony of taste seems to have chiefly prevailed under the monarchy of David Garrick over our Lon don Theatre. He had great talents as an actor, but was low in the character he much affected, of a dramatic writer. His alterations on moft of Shakespeare's plays, are as execrable, as his performance, in fome of his capital characters, especially in the comedies, was natural, juft, and admirable.-I discover that Garrick's outre characters of Flash and Fribble, which at this day give tranfports of mirth to the multitude of our fpectators, were almoft literally tranflated from a French play. I felt no pleating fenfation when I faw his picture fet up at Stratford upon Avon, as a companion for Shakespeare. He looks like a Harlequin in the company of a hero.-The fooleries of his jubilee throw ridicule on our times-and are only pardonable for the VOL. III. t Hh
good intention.-Had Shakespeare himself been a fpectator, he would have exclaimed, on hearing the ode,
"Extremely ftrain'd, and conn'd with cruel pain.
And upon the ballad, he would have repeated these lines:
"I'd rather be a kitten, and cry mew,
The inferior ranks of mankind, down to the lowest commonalty in Britain, certainly enjoy more effectually an equal and impartial adminiftration of law and juftice in all points, either civil or criminal.-They are much more fecure from the haughty infults or cruel oppreffions of the great, the powerful, and the nobles, than in France. This is very obvious even on a tranfient comparison of the condition and manners of the people in London and Paris.-Our people in general are alfo lefs involved in the miferable delufions of superftition and priestcraft.-Thefe are glorious advantages for us-but fenfible and confiderate men will not vainly boaft of and overvalue those benefits.-Trace our history fairly, and it will be found evident that we owe them more to accidental and fortunate circumftances, than to fuperior virtue or exertions.-Do not the bulk of our people in the South and North, often fly into all the exceffes either of wild enthusiasm or licentiousness, and fometimes, by a ftrange affociation, into both at once. In point of abject credulity, we are a match for the French-Not to mention any abfurdities in the common tenets of our established faith-and leav ing thefe to dealers in controverfy-in divinity, phyfic, law, and politics, quacks thrive among us, and
no people on earth are more egregiously duped. The Catholic belief of miracles and cures performed by relics of faints, is not a greater proof of weakness in the human understanding, than our prevailing credu lity in the advertised puffs of infallible remedies, for every distemper-We are, almoft in a conftant fucceffion, miled by pretenders to patriotifm. In politics, thofe who are not the interested creatures of faction and party, form their opinions from the fuperficial information of feeble news-mongers, and declamatory pamphleteers and we value new books generally according to the dictates of thofe affuming critics, who call themfelves reviewers-and, for the most part, are neither wife nor impartial judges.
On the 28th September, I fet out on the road through Burgundy from Paris to Lyons-all night at Effone, only twenty miles, at the Lion d'or-a dear bill; fix livres for lodging, and fix for poor entertaiment.
29th September. I paffed Fontainbleau with little obfervation, diftinguished only as the King's hunting feat in the middle of a wild barren country-yet the grapes produced in it are remarkably good-I proceeded no farther that night than to Moret, twenty-fix miles-put up at the Belle Image, which Dütens fays is a good inn-I found it execrable for entertainment, though my bill was moderate.
30th September. I breakfasted at the poft-house, Villeneuve. My landlady, when I called for a bill, faid, fhe knew the custom of this road was to charge the English righer than any other travellers-that fome of them were offended at this practice as an impofition, and others feemed difpleafed at vulgar reckonings-She therefore begged I would pay what I pleafed-or at the fame rate as I thought reasonable at any other inn on the road.-I knew not from what motive, but this fingular fort of difcretion induced me to pay her very li berally. I was all night at the post-houfe Villeneuve le mi, well used--Advancing fouthward, I think I already
feel a milder climate, and fome benefit to my health' fince I left Paris, from change of air and moderate journeys. This day I have advanced about thirty-fix milesI think the grapes begin to be of a better relish and richer flavour-I find the pears in France excellent—the apples and the peaches in general no better than our own the firawberries, goofeberries, and other small fruit not fo good.-I do not think the wheat bread fo favoury and nourishing as in Britain-I know not for what reafon, whether from defect of foil fit for producing that grain, from want of proper cultivation, or from the circumstance, that they use leaven, and no barm or yeaft or from all thefe caufes-I obferve that through all this country, they have at the inns, &c. great plenty of pigeons, turkies and other poultry.
Ift October. I dined very well and reafonably at the poft-house Auxerre, a town of confiderable trade, and proceeded to Vermenton all night-about thirty-fix miles; a delightful day's journey, the hills covered with luxuriant vineyards, and a very exterfive plain also covered with rich vineyards, and intermixed with fertile corn-fields.I faw little pafture-and must inquire how their cattle, fheep and horfes are maintained. I obferve many odd carriages, commonly drawn by two or four cows, for transporting wines and other merchandise.I was particularly captivated with a species of poplar or willow abounding in this country— they are beautiful, finely bufked-and grow both in thickets and rows very faft, and to a great height-They resemble both the Lombardy poplar and Huntingdon willow-but are of a different species, and more beautiful than either.-I am affured I may have excellent plants of them from the nursery-men near Lyons-and am refolved to try the experiment of propagating them in our country *. I obferve, that the peafants and villagers in this country, employ an uncommon, and furprifing number of affes for riding and petty carriages
• In fact, I have done fo with every promifing appearance of fuccess
which is a certain indication of general oppreffion and poverty-equally detrimental to men of power and property in all countries. I feel disturbed with fome apprehenfions, that enormous taxes, and the ill-judging avarice of many landlords in Scotland, may in time force our people to fuch use of this fluggish, but ferviceable and easily supported little animal.
2d October, I breakfafted well at the post-house Lucy le bois-All night at the Maifon Neuve, thirty feven miles, very well used-For dinner, wine, lodging and fire only twelve livres. On the first two pofts of this day's journey, the country appears barren and stony; it mends as we go on-is mostly a corn country, few vines to be feen except on diftant hills-Some attempts appear to form inclofures in the English manner, by thorn hedges and rows of trees-unfuccefs fully, for want of fkill and care in the modes of planting and prefervation-yet at a distance, and on a general view, the trees, and even defective hedges, give an ornament to the face of the country-I have remarked that the men and women, and alfo the horfes, are larger and handfomer in Champaigne and Burgundy than in the other parts of France where I have travelled.-Certainly the French people in general have naturally a greater portion of what is called fpirit, than the British-yet their horfes are mostly luggish, and have not the figure, fire, and mettle of ours-l fuppofe chiefly from defec of pasture, fodder, and proper grain.
October 3. I breakfalled at the poft-houfe ViteauxI obferve, that my old friend Smollet was in a violent paffion, when overcharged at the inns, and threatened vengeance by force or law, ever without redress.-On fuch occafions, hitherto rare, I have tried a different method with better fuccefs.-At this inn, the landlady demanded forty fous for my breakfast. I calmly remonftrated, to this purpose:-"I am no unexperienced "traveller ;-I know your demand is extravagant, near "double the higheft ufual rate :-Yet, if you infift, I