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Travel and Field Guides
Literature
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A Tour Through Some Parts of Istria, Carniola, Styria, Austria, the Tyrol, Italy and Sicily, in the Spring of 1814
By A Young English Merchant


Omne tulit punctum, qui miscuit utile dulci. Hoz.
Veni, vidi.                                        Cæs.


PREFACE.

The Tour described in the following pages was made at a more interesting period than may ever perhaps occur again. It was only a few weeks subsequent to the re-opening of the continent of Europe, after a non-intercourse, both politically and commercially considered, without a parallel; so that several circumstances are described which hare never been disclosed before, but which, the author flatters himself, will not be uninteresting to the public.

The author has preferred giving a connected narrative throughout, as the [iv] circumstances took place, rather than classing the subject under separate divisions: had it been written upon any other plan, many little incidents must inevitably have been omitted.

It has been so composed as to appear a narrative of occurrences, communicated from one friend to another. The author may seem to introduce himself rather, too often as a hero; but he knows not how he could have avoided it, for he made the tour, alone, after leaving Vienna. The benevolent reader will no doubt overlook this apparent egotism, for the sake of acquiring authentic information.


— "Virumque cano"—
Virgil.
Æneid.

Malta, March 9, 1814. The plague had just finished its ravages in Malta, although the communications between the different parts of the island were not yet re-established;—our ears were daily greeted with the news of some fresh success gained by the Allies over the French, and merchant vessels were in consequence beginning to take away their goods from the island;— [2] when I resolved upon a tour on the neighbouring continent, that I might be an eye-witness of the many interesting changes expected to take place.

I took my passage on board an Austrian Polacca under cover of the British flag. An account of the manner in which foreigners sailed under British colours during. the war, may perhaps not be uninteresting; for though it may probably in a short period be. entirely forgotten, it will at least serve as a memorial of the past. The real Captain, an Austrian by birth, and navigating originally under Austrian colours: upon the breaking out of the war had his vessel seized, together with several others, at Malta: it was, however, afterwards given up to him in consequence of a petition [3] presented to the Court of Admiralty in England. He was unwilling to return to his own country to live in idleness. He could not navigate under his own colours, and therefore adopted the only alternative for employing his vessel by availing himself of the plan which was carried on to a very great extent at Malta, of making a false sale of his vessel to a British subject: the meaning of which is, that he got a written document from a native of Britain, in which he pretended to have sold his vessel, and kept by him a false receipt, purporting to be given for the payment This receipt was for no other purpose than to deceive the English themselves; for these vessels carried on a considerable contraband trade with the Continent, and having [4] their own papers they easily obtained admission into the ports. Whenever they were met by an English cruiser, they hoisted English colours, and, if necessary, produced the forged papers. Several of them, however, having been discovered by the Court of Admiralty, were condemned.

As no foreigner can command a vessel under British colours, and as none but Greeks were permitted to sail with their flag on the seas; captains situated like the one I am describing generally took on board a Maltese sailor, or a sailor married to a Maltese woman, who usually appeared as captain in clearing out the vessel, or when it was boarded at sea. On all other occasions he was useless, as the real [5] captain, who generally owned a part, commanded.

Our number of male passengers was seventeen; all of whom, excepting myself, had been obliged to fly from their several countries to escape the tyranny of Buonaparte. The most remarkable of these was a literary character, who had been living at Malta ever since the establishment of that colony: he was a man who had acquired by travelling great liberality of mind, and was returning home unprejudiced both in politics and religion. Another was a comedian, who had been wandering from Turin through England, Portugal and Turkey. Two others of them were brothers, and had been following the humble profession of tailors in Alexandria. The [6] rest were common sailors or soldiers. I could not but feel with them all the sentiments of detestation they uttered against their common enemy, and at times fully entered into the joy they manifested at the idea of once more seeing their respective countries and friends - an event which many of them, a few months before, contemplated as almost visionary. Their enthusiasm sometimes rose to such a pitch, that I could not help imagining, if all Italy were possessed of a similar spirit, it would be no longer the theatre of so many unhappy revolutions.

Every evening at five o'clock, the crew were called together at the capstan, when the captain recited prayers to them, to which they generally responsed. There [7] was something touching in the scene of a ship going at the rate of six knots an hour - about thirty people with uncovered heads, and kneeling under a serene sky: it brought to my recollection the last verse of Pope's Universal Prayer—

"To Thee whose temple is all space!
Whose altar, earth, sea, skies!
One chorus let all beings raise,
All nature's incense rise!"

The Adriatic, March 12, 1814. The mountains in the different countries round the Adriatic are very high. Those of Albania, of Saseno, of Dalmatia behind Zara, of Istria, and of Friul behind Rovigno, the principal of which are covered with snow, made a very pleasing impression upon one who had just left a sandy rock.

[8] We passed the islands of Lagosta, Curzola, Lissa, St. Andrea, and Grosse. They all produce a little wine and oil. But amongst these, the island which attracted most of the attention of England during the war is Lissa; on account of its central situation, and its capability of being fortified so as to be defended. It was designed as a depot for English goods, but for the present will be of little use. It produces a considerable quantity of wine and oak, both which, finding a ready market at Malta and in Sicily, have been the means of raising the few inhabitants into comparative wealth and comfort. A small pretty town stands on the western side, in a bay, above which, on a mountain, an English signal tower is erected.

[9] On passing these, islands, I was amused with an anecdote which I heard respecting the manner in which the common people say they got into the hands of the Venetian during the republic. They belonged before that period to Austria. The Austrians, it appears, were in want of money, and applied for a loan to Venice. It was granted, but on condition of receiving the islands in pledge. An agreement was then made, that; if the money were not repaid on a certain day before vespers, the islands should be forfeited. This was nothing but a manoeuvre on the part of the Venetians, for they conceived that the Austrians could not satisfy them at the appointed time; but, hearing that the money was on its way from Vienna, and would [10] actually be paid before vespers on the stipulated day, they were so incensed, that they ordered vespers to be sung at two o'clock instead of the usual hour, and by that means gained their object.

Sailors dread the passage of Guarnero, between Istria and the island Grosse more than any other in the Adriatic. A wind which they call borè sometimes blows with such violence from the mountains of snow on that coast, that vessels are frequently obliged to veer about and steer for a port.

You would almost fancy, wherever you see a church with a pyramidal steeple, surrounded with a few trees, that you are at home. Istria furnishes many such scenes, and abounds besides with woods of oak [11] and beech, olive and vineyard. It supplies Trieste with oil, fruits, wine, and firewood.

The Illyric is spoken, even at this day, over perhaps a larger extent of country than any other language. It prevails throughout great part of Asia, Dalmatia, Bulgaria, Russia, Poland, Bohemia, and Silesia; it is therefore much to be regretted, that no foreigner has the opportunity of acquiring it by books, for it has neither a grammar nor a dictionary.

As we approached Trieste, we met a great number of boats going to the different islands in the gulph. We no sooner hoisted our flag, than the sailors gave us a hearty welcome by loud huzzas and waving their caps. Poor souls! I could [12] attribute this feeling to no other cause than their being permitted to sail unmolested in their own seas — a pleasure which they had not experienced for some years.

Trieste, March 18, I814. — Trieste is very prettily situated at the foot of a mountain over which others rise in succession. They are all covered with neat white painted country-houses, the residences ofthe richest merchants; and being scattered in every direction, have every pleasing effect from the sea.

The vessel was ordered into the quarantine harbour, round which a lazaretto is built for the reception of passengers, and into which we were removed as soon as we had passed an examination before a medical man. We were their told that we must [13] remain there during thirty days before we should be at liberty, and .which, I believe, we should have done but for a circumstance which, though pleasant to me individually, might have been of serious consequence to the town, as the public health might have been completely sacrificed for the sake of interest. Another vessel arrived from Malta on the same day with us, bringing only one passenger, a Jew. This Jew(was the son of a rich merchant, who had frequently lent money to the Austrian government. It so happened that,. about the eighteenth day after our confinement, certain holidays occurred. The family, not having seen their Joseph for some years before, were very anxious to have him with them on that occasion; and the father [14] used all his influence with the police to get him liberated. He petitioned day after day, and at last obtained his wish. The son was let out, after we had all retired to rest at night; but in the morning, upon hearing of the event, we began to remonstrate with the guardian or keeper for this partiality. We were answered, that in a short time we should be at liberty also, but were desired to be silent. Several passengers who bad arrived only one day after us, were obliged to perform their allotted time. I had an opportunity of seeing the castle which commands the town, and into which the French retired to defend it They suffered all the habitable part of the town to be destroyed before they surrendered.

[15] Some Croats were now guarding it, under the command of a captain, who seemed a very intelligent man; and from whom I learned that the Austrian government did not allow them more than one meal a day, and two kreutzers of money, equal to about one penny sterling. He said, these men had volunteered their services at the commencement of the war. Most of then were married, according to the usual custom in their country, where the parents betroth them whilst yet children; and when they attain a proper age, the marriage is solemnized. This is generally at sixteen or seventeen. Their fortunes on these occasions consist of a given quantity of cattle, or measures of corn. Does it not appear extraordinary that men, so situated at home, [16] could be induced to garrison a place that refused them even beds to lie on? This officer however stated that they began to be discontented, as the little money they had brought with them was all expended, and their applications to the town for relief had been in vain.

The numerous objects of misery that stalked about the streets made me sigh at every step; they reminded one of the endless miseries and privations they had so long undergone.—But every day strangers or exiled patriots flocked to fill the empty houses. Although I only staid ten days, there was a visible alteration in the population. Rent doubled, and people that had houses would not let them for more than a year even at this advanced rate.

[17] How much the happiness and welfare of a country depend upon the government, was never more apparent to me than on this occasion. Trieste, which but a few months before was languid and dead, now fitted with rapidity; ships from all parts were entering her port; and the endless buzz of busy men was once more heard to fill the streets.

The Exchange is a noble building in appearance; but badly arranged inside, People generally transact their business in front in the open air. The Jews are the principal moneyed men, and act as bankers, A very superstitious custom is prevalent here on Easter Sunday. At eleven o'clock the guns of the fortress fired to announce the anniversary of the resurrection [18] of Christ. Every body ran instantly to the nearest water they could find; and washed their eyes. They believe that by doing so, they shall escape the misfortune of blindness during the ensuing year.

The highest class of society consists of successful merchants, and amongst them are certainly some very intelligent men; but it does not argue much in favour of their morality, when you see them associate with the rejected kept mistress of any prince. There was at that time a Polish Countess who had been so connected with an Austrian nobleman, and she was received into the first circles. If this be the case with the better sort, you may easily conceive that the lower orders follow their example.

[19] The language generally spoken in good company is French; although you may hear a great deal of German, Italian, and English. The Greek, the Turkish, the Illyric, and several other dialects, are not unusual in the mercantile world.

Trieste does not offer many curiosities to the antiquarian. There is however a small arch as you go up to the cathedral well worth stepping aside to see: it is conmonlfy called La Prigione di Ricardo (Richard's Prison); though no reason can be assigned for that name, as it has not the most distant resemblance to a prison. What still remains looks lake a small triumphal arch, supported by two fat Corinthian pillars. Over the architrave is a square hollow, very much like the [20] tombstones in an English church-yard. Historians say that it was built by the inhabitants of Tergestum (ancient Trieste) in commemoration of a visit paid them by Charlemagne, when he delivered the Illyrian provinces from the yoke of the Goths and Vandals. A very respectable individual told me, that he recollected when Trieste consisted only of a few miserable huts; not better thaa those of the towns in other parts of Istria. It can however now boast of whole streets of excellent houses, and some, magnificent palaces.

The cathedral (St. Justo) is a very ancient building. The outside is stuck full of Roman inscriptions, and basso-relievos, which were found in a theatre upon its site when digging the foundation. The [21] architecture is plain, but pleases by its simplicity, and was probably erected seven or eight hundred years ago. The domes of the altars are inlaid with ugly figures of ancient Mosaic work. I went to this place to hear a Te Deum sung on account "of the liberation of the Pope from the hands of the French, and for the success of the late battle of Fere Compigneuse." The whole of the municipality, the officers belonging to the different regiments, and the consuls of the different nations, were present. The effect of the ceremony was heightened by the introduction of the great drum into the orchestra, which I had never heard in church-music before. The crowd of well-dressed people was immense.

[22] In the evening, the town and theatre were illuminated; and in the latter I could not mistake the expressions of popular enthusiasm for the change in their circumstances. The performance was I Viaggi di Giuseppe II. (The Travels of Joseph II.); the plot of which runs thus: — Joseph II; travels in disguise through his dominions, to hear his people's sentiments, and seek for deserving objects. In the scene where he visits the sculptor, after conversing with him, and finding him a man of merit, he promises to use his influence with the emperor to make him a count. The artist, feeling some doubt, asks if he really knows him; to which Joseph answers, very well indeed. After further conversation, in which the sculptor thinks this is probably true, [23] he proposes to drink the emperor's health. This was immediately caught by the spectators, and three loud huzzas wen given, the ladies waving their handkerchiefs from their boxes, The sculptor then proposes the health "degli amici dell' Impetatore" ("of the friends of the emperor"). This toast caused the same sensation. The sculptor, still having his doubts, again questions Joseph whether he really knows him; to which he replies, "Son amicissimo dell' Imperatore" ("I am a very great friend of the Emperor's"). The people were in ecstacies; and an universal burst of patriotism for a time interrupted the play.

Trieste, April 14, 1814.When the news of the entrance of the Allies into [24] Paris; reached Trieste, one would have thought the very stones were animated. The vivas in the streets and theatre were uninterrupted the whole of that day.

Journey to Vienna. April 15, 1814. — As soon as I had got a travelling companion, I left for Vienna. The ascent from Trieste is very steep; but you are highly delighted with the view as soon as you have gained the summit of the mountain by which you are conducted into the high road. It commands a large extent of sea, part of Venetian Istria, part of Friul, Trieste at your feet, and on all sides extensive woods of young trees, which were then just [25] beginning to bud. The moment however that we had turned the horses' heads to proceed, the contrast was remarkable: for many miles we travelled through, a rocky country, till we reached Susanna. We then underwent a very strict search from the officers of the revenue; and my travelling companion not.only lost a piece of English printed calico, which he was endevouring to smuggle, but .was fined in treble its value for having it in.his possession.

The country about Susanna is planted with vines of a larger, growth than those you meet .with either in Spain or in the north; of Germany. They appeared like young trees.

Several regiments of soldiers passed us [26] here on their way to join the army in Italy: they appeared healthy and well dressed, wearing a slip of' laurel or pine in their caps.

Oberlaibach is pleasantly situated in a bason, formed by high mountains covered with oak. The wild cherry and garden apple-trees, in blossom at our arrival, added much to the effect. The house-tops are covered with square pieces of wood instead of tiles. The women wear very shoft petticoats, and the men large-brimmed hats.

The country between Oberlaibach and Laibach furnishes the most pleasing varieties at every step. The soil is good: and as the inhabitants have not fnikltipited so fast as to make it necessary to cut down [27] the large forests of pine, of fir, of larch, of beach, and of oak, growing as nature planted them, intermixed with one another, and by turns forming separate clusters of their own species, your curiosity is continually gratified. Frequently a small white chapel with a spiral steeple peeped from  amongst the trees; while mountains of snow formed the back ground.

Leaving Oberlaibach, we crossed the rivuilet Lai, which gives its name to the town.

Laibach, April 16, 1814. — Laibach, situated on the river Save, is the capital of Carniola. We got permission from the governor to go up to the castle which commands it. It is now in ruins. The [28] view however compensates for this disappointment: The eye at once contemplated all that a poet, when painting nature, can call in to aid his descriptions mountains, rivers, trees, and distance. On one side you have an immense plain, planted with firs, the river Save showing itself now and then in the distance. On the other, an extensive level, little iriterspersed  indeed with wood, but as highly cultivated as a garden, and bounded by lofty mountains of snow. At your feet winds the river, and along its banks is built the town, which stretches for a considerable way on all sides. Several large buildings command your attention as you run over the scene.

In crossing the bridge upon our [29] return to the inn, the construction of the boats used in navigating the river struck me as singular; being usually formed of a single oak-tree, hollowed out, and sufficiently large to contain a quantity of hay or wood. They look like the representations which are generally given of a negro's canoe.

The appearance of the people, particularly, that of the women, is healthy: they have a good deal of the ruddiness of English rustics. You may draw a comparison between England and Carniola in other respects; as the beauty of stature, for which the people are distinguishable; their cleanliness, their method of agriculture, the appearance of the country, the produce, and the trees. The houses, too, aire very convenient [30] and, although painted in a manner peculiar to themselves, yet contain every article of useful furniture.

We got down from thd castle just in time to see the trial of nine delinquents. They had been guilty of insnbordination, in resisting the payment of a tax which some soldiers had gone to enforce. They stood upon a scaffold erected before the town-hall: a line of soldiers was drawn round it to prevent their being rescued. A lawyer stood at the middle window, and declared aloud the crime for which they were thus exposed, first m German, then in the dialect of the country. He then declared the law, and afterwards the sentence; the latter of which was, that, according to the extent ef each man's crime, he [31] should be confined a certain number ef days, and publicly whipped.

The church of St. Francis is neat, but scarcely worth mentioning, were it not for the fine pillars of agate and marble which support the different altars around it, the produce of the mountains in the vicinity.

To St. Oswald the distance is twenty mUesy the country very much resembling what I have just described. We frequently saw the marsh and weeping willows; primroses and violets filled the hedge-sides, The mountains are almost perpendicular at only five or six yards from the road, to the right and left, and this almost the whole way.

We crossed the Save over a wooden [32] bridge, after leaving Laibach; the passage of which was disputed by the retiring French, on the breaking out of the war of the Allies, and where, it is said, thty Iost five thousand men.

The Catholic Religion seemed to me to be much milder here than what I remarked it to be in Spain. The only images stuck up are representations of Christ suffering on the Cross, and the principally at the entrances into villages. As we went along, childdren would frequently fall on their knees and mutter a short prayer, then rise and follow the carriage, without begging for money. The people were generally very civil; scarcely a peasant passed us, who did not touch his hat: not as in England where —

 
]33] "Pride in their port, defiance in their eye,
I see the lords of human kind pass by;
Intent on high designs, a thoughtful band
By forms unfashion'd, fresh from Nature's hand;
Fierce in their native hardiness of soul,
True to imagin'd right, above control;
While ev'n the peasant boasts these rights to scan,
And learns to venerate himself as man."

Goldsmith's Traveller.

It gave me no little pleasure, when I considered that I was travelling through a Catholic country, that I met with so few friars. The first I saw, was at Neustadt, not very far from Vienna. When in Spain, I attributed great part of the misery of the people to the influence of the religious orders; and I am willing to allow that part of the happiness and comfort of the country [34] I am describing, arises from having so few of them. They produce idleness and inactivity wherever they exist.

Count Launberg possesses the largest part of the land about St. Oswald, and his castle stands only a few miles from the town.

The land produces every thing so plentifully, that living is very cheap here. Good beef costs from six to seven kreutzers (about three halfpence sterling). A measure of wood of ten feet square (in German a klaften) about four florins (or five shillings and fourpence sterling).

Mahrburg, April 17,1814. — Continuing our:journey, we arrived at Mahrburg, a neat quiet town, situated on the Drave. My companion, who had been in [35] Switzerland, compared the scenery through which we had been travelling, to that country. It abounds with ^every species of ftuit, and produces an excellent white wine.

The boats on the Drave are much broader than those on the Save. They are almost as broad as long, and quite flat-bottomed. This is on account of the difference of the rapidity, breadth, and depth, of the two rivers. The Drave is much the largest.

About fifteen miles from Mahrburg and five from Herrnhausen, we ascended the mountain Platschberg, from which we had a most delightful view of the valley of the Muhr. There is nothing more difficult for a writer of travels, than to vary his[36] description when his materials are so much the same in the most interesting scenery. I cannot, therefore, furnish the reader with any adequate idea of this vista. It struck me, as if it were deficient in nothing which the most romantic mind might desire; the numberless spires, the windings of the river, the beautiful seats of the nobility, the state of agriculture, the, mountains of snow, and the trees of different kinds. One side was bounded by the Hungarian, and the other by the Carpathian mountains.

The architecture of the Seats of the land proprietors is plain; for as they chiefly spend their time at Vienna, no care has been taken to ornament the ground about their houses. It seems as if all that they [37] require, when they visit their possessions, is to have a building large enough to contain their retinue.

All the bridges you cross, though built over the largest rivers in the country, are of wood, this article being so much cheaper than stone; and, notwithstanding their frequent destruction by floods, the people have no hesitation in erecting them again of the same materials. Toll-gates are plated on them, where you must generally pay pretty handsomely. We crossed the Muhr several times before arriving at Gratz.

Gratz, April 17, 1814. — Gratz is the capital of Lower Styria, and carries on a considerable inland trade, chiefly m the produce of the country. It contains about [38] thirty thousand inhabitants, many of whom live in affluence, as the neatness of their houses, and the many equipages that roll about the streets, evince. All their furniture is made of cherry-wood, and does not look much worse than mahogany. Tfhs streets are broad and well paved.

The women are generally pretty, and fond of ornamenting their persons. There is scarcely one that does not wear pearl necklaces, which go five pr six times round their necks. The middling classes use black crape caps, which being shaped with wire, and in appearance like a butterfly's wings, look very singular. All orders among them make use of parasols.

The accommodations at the inns here, and on the road, are very good—you may [39] get every thing you want. I cannot speak more in favour of the price of provisions than by stating, that if we had taken the whole of the list of twenty-five dishes whiph was presented to us at the table d'hôte, they would only have cost us three florins of Vienna, or about two shillings and six-pence sterling. Amongst them were venison and pigeons. The person who sat next fo me paid thirty-nine kreutzers (about sixpence) for his dinner, which consisted of soup, boiled beef, greens, pudding, and wine.

The castle of Gratz stands upon a high rock of very remarkable appearance. It has been almost totally destroyed by the French, excepting a small battery of four guns. It completely commands the town, [40] which you see following the course of the river for a considerable distance. To the north, are immense mountains of snow, well cultivated lands, intersected with woods of fine trees, a castle in ruins, showing itself just when the Muhr breaks upon us. The river, winding down past your feet, loses itself in the south amongst the water-willows; the gilded domes which attract your attention heightening the effect. To the west are several walks, on each side of which are planted wild chestnut-trees; and at intervals are country-seats that would be ornamental even in England. The rest of the view comprises a well-cultivated plain.

The Paulus thor (or gate) is noted in the history of the town, for being the spot [41] where: the Turks were repulsed in 1683, when 'they invaded Austria. There is a nobleman's house adjoining it, at one of the windows of which you see the wooden figure of a Turk in the act of jumping out, with his drawn sabre.

About a mile and a half from the town is a rock of singular shape, standing by itself, and rising out of a well-cultivated country, within a short distance of which, the river forms several islands. It goes by the name of Mount Calvary. You see there the representation of the Passion of Christ in different parts, carved out in wood. A traveller should by no means omit a visit there, for the sake of the scenery.

The cathedral is of Gothic architecture, [42] and apparently not old. The workman* ship inside is very well executed.

I went in the evening to the theatre. The performance was Die Wahlfahrt nach der Königsgruft (the Pilgrimage to the King's tomb), a species erf romantic tragedy, of which the Germans are very fond. It consists of only four acts, and is accompanied with slow music, and chorusses at intervals, and generally concludes with the latter.

A great number of recruits were raising in the town, who were sent off to the army in Italy as soon as they were capable of doing their exercise.

I am sorry it was nigbt when we passed Mount Semerin, as the road over it has been made at a very great expence, [43] and is a truly national work. The mountain is by nature very steep, which has caused them to make the road to go from one side to the other in a zig-zag form, so that you attain the summit by easy degrees.

Some miles before you reach Neustadt, you exchange the bold mountain and frequent wood for a continual plain of little interest, which is the case till you reach Vienna: here and there only a wild chesnut-tree, an Italian poplar, or a wild goose-berry-tree, may draw your attention.

We passed a great number of carts laden with English colonial produce for the interior of the country, as we approached the capital. Their construction was light, [44] their width very small, but the goods were suffered to bulge out on both sides.

There is a species of dog near Brücke of an extraordinary size. I saw one as large as a well grown calf of six weeks old. lt was yellow-coloured like a tiger, and had a head resembling that of a bull-dog. Far from being fierce, it appeared very passive. In different parts of the country, the women wear straw-hats, shaped like a wooden bowl, or as we see Chinese bonnets described, without any particular hollow for the head.

The difference in the expence of travelling between the provinces out of Austria and in the province of that name (Styria excepted) is very considerable. In the [45] former you pay hard money, and in the latter paper, which may be better understood, by saying that you may get from two hundred to three hundred florins of paper money for one hundred florins of hard money in Austria, but which is not considered current out of its own province. The law obliges the people of the province of Austria to receive paper-money as a legal tender; but it has not been thought proper to extend that law to the inhabitants of other provinces; so that when you arrive at the boundary which divides Austria from another province, you must sell all your paper-money, and frequently at a great loss. In the same manner, when you go from another province into Austria, you will naturally buy paper-money, [46] which you must purchase much dearer, however, than you can in the regular way at Vienna. This paper-money fluctuates sometimes many per cents in a few days. I have known it rise from two hundred to three hundred and fifty florins of paper-currency for one hundred real florins, during the short time I was at Vienna, though it fell again afterwards. This great fluctuation depends a good deal upon the wants of government, and the probability of their ultimately paying their notes. At Trieste, when a merchant sells his goods, he stipulates for hard money. He formerly sold for paper-money, but when his bill became due, the exchange had perhaps fallen twenty or thirty per cent lower than when he made his sale, [47] consequently so many innocent men have become victims to the frightful fluctuations which take place, that that town has altered its system. I became acquainted with a very respectable banker whose father had left him in affluence, and who had besides added to his respectability, but who had been reduced to utter poverty before he had time to extricate himself, so sudden was the depreciation on one occasion. I am speaking of an event which happened some years since. In England, where the security is yet so good, that is, where there are the means of raising the money to pay the interest upon the loan of government, there is no apparent fluctuation in the value of a banknote; but where, as in Austria, the [48] government thinks proper now and then to call in all the old notes and give one new for five old ones — confidence, cannot be expected to be great. In England, the depreciation of the.value of the bank-note is felt indirectly in the increase of the price of the commodity you buy. In Austria the bank-note finds its level immediately by being put in competition with real money.

Several grounds for printing cottons and spinning manufactories lie in appropriate situations at some miles distance round the neighbourhood of Vienna. They have been brought to such perfection, that, in a very short time, the Austrians, indeed I may say, all the Continent, will have no further occasion for the assistance of [49] England, in supplying them with articles of clothing. They are at present only deficient in cotton-spinning, not being able to manufacture the high numbers, as they are called; and in printing they have hitherto had to contend with the price of drugs, is the most necessary and costly were obliged to be smuggled from England or countries in amity with England; but these difficulties are only momentary. The one will be overcome by practice; the other will be soon, if it be not already overcome. I blush to think that Englishmen are at the head of most of these concerns. In point of execution, the prints far exceed any thing which the English manufacturer has produced. The buildings which have been erected for these purposes, and the [50] encouragement given the proprietors by the government, appear formidable enemies for Britain to contend with. If the Austrians once obtain capital, they may be induced to cultivate foreign trade from their port of Trieste.

There is a piece of antiquity about two miles from Vienna, standing on an eminence, whence you get the first sight of the city: it is not very large, and may probably have been part of a cross; but it is very interesting, being full of those Gothic ornaments, which no person can see without feeling veneration for them. Another of the same description stands near Brücke.

From that nearest Vienna we saw Schönbrunn, in the distance to the left, [51] and soon after we traversed an alley of chesnut-trees which leads, in one direction, to that palace, and in. the other to Luxemburg, a residence also of the emperor. This alley is at least fifteen English miles long.

Vienna, April 20, 1814. We arrived at Vienna about five o'clock. Our passports were taken from us till we should leave again which was the case in.all the principal towns on our journey.

In the morning my curiosity first .led me to visit the gallery of paintings belonging tp Prince Johann von Lichtenstein: jt consists of one thousand eight hundred pieces, which are valued at 3,170,000 florins, about 400,000l. sterling. You have [52] animal, flower, landscape, historical painters, and painters of town and country scenes — all classed in separate rooms, and arranged according to the different schools to which they belonged. The house which contains this gallery stands in the suburb Rusau, and is finished in the most princely style: the floors are inlaid with cherry-wood: the steps of the grand stair-case are of solid marble, and remarkably broad: the cielings are covered with fresco-paintings by Francischini, yet nobody lives in it. The present possessor is fond of a military life, having no taste for learning or the arts. The grounds about the palace are laid out with good taste in the English style, and people have free access [53] at all times. In the afternoon great numbers take delight in going to read under the trees.

The cathedral (St. Stephen's) is a noble Gothic pile, of about the same date as Westminster Abbey: it has only one steeple, which is more ornamented and pointed: the inside has been a good deal altered since it was first built. Many modern additions have been made, particularly about the altars. The only royal monument to be found in it, is that of Frederic III., which occupies a conspicuous place to the right of the grand altar. Great pains have been taken in the execution, and over it on the wall is the emperor's portrait, to which are added all his titles.

[54] I copied some lines inscribed upon the monument of an obscure individual, a M. Kern, close by; which struck me as being very neat: —

" Volat hora, sine morâ."
"Sol celer est, ut sole tamen velovior hora,
Hora stetit nunquam, sol aliquando stetit."

Many other pretty epitaphs might have been selected.

The choirs were hung with paintings from the manufectory of Gobelins at Paris. There is scarcely a cathedral throughout the continent of Europe that does not boast q{ some of them. As the king of France is the proprietor of that manufactory, he follows the examples of the duke of Tuscany in his manufactory of Pietra Durn, and of the emperor of Austria in his [55] porcelain manufactory, in making presents of the produce to the different courts.

The Augustine church has become an object of curiosity to strangers, since the erection of a monument to a late archduchess, Maria Christina, the work of chevalier Canova. It is considered one of the best of that great artist's productions. The subject is Virtue, in the costume of a matron adorned with flowers, accompanied by two young females, carrying torches and garlands. The matron bears an urn in her hands, containing the ashes of the deceased, and is in the act of entering a pyramid with it. Goodness follows, leading an old man, conducting a young female: the attitude of the last is expressive of gratitude to her benefactress. Above [56] the pyramid is Felicity, holding the portrait of the princess, and at its foot a Genius leaning upon a lion, intended to express the fortitude with which the husband sustained the loss of so amiable a wife.

The vaults of the Capuchin convents contain the remains of most of the royal family. The bodies of nine emperors, thirteen empresses, and fifty-five other persons of royal blood, are deposited there. They are all arranged one after another in the order of their deaths; and are placed in iron coffins. The great Maria Theresa occupies the middle space, and her son Joseph II. lies, on one side of her. An old Capuchin friar descended with me into this solemn scene, and pointed out the [57] spot where the queen of Sicily desired to be laid (at the feet of her immortal mother). The old man, now on the brink of the grave, showed me, with tears in his eyes, the many nooks that had been filled up in that spot within his own recollection.

"Can storied urn or animated bust,
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can honour's voice provoke the silent dust,
Or flattery sooth the dull cold ears of death?"

Gray's Elegy..

The Deaf and Dumb Institution does honour to the benevolence of the people. A.certain number of unfortunate beings, of both sexes, are there taught to write, and speak by signs. It was originally built, and supported by subscription, but has been of late neglected. The teacher [58] under whose care it was first begun, mentioned that it was his intention to present a memorial to government; as the means by which it is supported are too precarious, considering the utility of such an institution. In the memorial, he meant to show how it might be supported without depending upon so many casualties. He proposed to oblige every couple throughout the empire, on the day of their marriage, to contribute a certain sum to its support, to be levied by the clergyman who married them. He calculated that there might be about ten thousand marriages in a year. Supposing each to give one florin, the amount, thus raised would be ten thousand florins. But he believed that the highest class would give more than the fixed sum, [59] so that he might expect to raise twenty thousand florins per annum by this means. Some of his pupils could write as beautiful a hand, and understood arithmetic, as well as children of their own age without any defect. I asked one, by writing on a board with a chalk, what was his intended profession? He answered, a secretary. Some were for being tailors, others shoe-makers, and so on. The girls were to be put out as milliners and servants, when they became old enough. — The teacher related, that several of both sexes had been able to marry, and were supporting their families with respectability; — that on one occasion, a young man, and a young woman, both educated under him, but neither of whom could speak, had married, and were then [60] rearing a progeny; but in consequence of the great inconvenience that must accrue to the parties, the legislature had interfered, and prohibited such connections for the future, conceiving very properly, that too many such marriages might ultimately create great misery; for although the father and mother may understand one another by signs, yet as they have not the power of articulating their commands, they cannot be expected to have a proper control over their family.

Vienna, April 24, 1814. — The empress, her mother, archdukes Charles and Ferdinand, went this day in state to the Cathedral to hear high mass, "for the liberation of the Pope from the hands of. the French." A few regular troops were in [61] the city, the Bürgerwacht (or citizen's guard) lined the streets on the occasion. These men, like all citizen guards in the world, were awkward in their evolutions and dress: this latter consisted pf a long grey mixture great coat, a cocked hat, with a large green feather, a broad white leathern belt hung over their right shoulders, and at their left side dangled a sword and a long cane with a huge ivory head, Their muskets rested promiscuously upon their right or left shoulders. A few Hungarian guards accompanied the carriages of the royal family, but the appearance o£ these men was certainly military. They wore a rich hussar's dress, over which hung a tyger's. skin. Their caps were of fur, [62] remarkably high, and ornamented with a thin long white feather.

Down the middle of the church stood two rows of beautiful young women dressed in white; and when the Court arrived, the bishop and clergy went to receive them at the door, with a canopy, such as that under which they usually carry the host.

Whenever a ceremony of this kind occurs on a fine day, if you wish for an opportunity of seeing the beau monde, you must go in the afternoon to the Prato (or Prater as it is pronounced by the Austrians), an immense plot of ground much resembling the parks about London, planted with a double row of large chestnut-trees, situated on an arm of the Danube. Up [63] and down this walk strut persons of all tastes, — the philosopher, the soldier, tht civilian, and the peasant. Gilded equipages full of well-dressed females drive down tht middle. On all sides are booths of every description. Puppet-shows, circuses, theatres for punch, phantasmagorias, whirligig booths, and up-and-go-down booths; in fact every amusement that invention can contribute. On holidays all classes of people find there some diversion congenial to their own tastes, and whilst the servant-man and woman are diverting themselves with a waltz, their master and mistress ar« looking at a harlequin playing his pranks.

Independent of this spot of general resort, whichever way you go out of the [64] city you find places of amusement, such as public walks, coflfee-houses, billiard-rooms; and exhibitions, almost always full of people. If the lower orders do not benefit their understandings by such employments, they do not at least injure their health. In England man goes and gets drunk with what he may have saved during the week, but in Vienna he takes his wife and children ta some of the above-mentioned places, or perhaps, after a walk in the evening, to a theatre.

On another side-of the city, the Emperor Joseph II. has formed a ggrden for the public; over the gate of the entrance in which you you read this simple bat affectionate inscription: — [65]

"Allen menachen guvidmeter
Erlustigengsort von ibrem schätzer.:

In English: —

"A place of amusement, dedicated
To all mankind, by one who esteems them."

From hence, I crossed the Tabor bridge, to go to the third and largest arm of the Danube, which is a good half hour's walk from Vienna. The bridge which crosses this, is of wood, and consists of twenty-nine arches; the distance between each is about seventeen good paces. The Danube is very rapid here; and forms several islands, which are covered with willows. Some miles over it are several of the fields of battle between the French and [66] Austrians. The highest points of land you can see are Leopoldsberg and Calernberg.

The theatres are numerous and of different orders. In some the performance are generally operas, and in others of a comic kind. That called the Kärnther-tbor theatre, and that in the suburb Auf der Wiede, are almost exclusively for operas. The latter is so constructed, that in whatever part of the house you sit, you can see every body in it: the second tier of boxes recedes from the first, the third from the second and so on, till you arrive at the, gallery. Madame Buchwieser; performs there and is considered the best,songstress at-Vienna: she is by right a countess, but her husband having spent all [67] property, she has had no other resource than the stage for a respectable livelihood: in person she is very handsome. When any procession, chorus, or dance is to be represented, the concourse of people is immense, and all dressed in the most sumptuous manner. The materials of the dresses could not be better, were they to serve the purpose in real life for which they are only used on the stage.

The Austrians do not appear fond either of tragedy or genteel comedy, but prefer pieces with something of the marvellous in them. Thus in the Leopolds-stadt theatre, you generally see a play wherein the following characters are introduced: — A good and an evil genius; a few princes who have lost their fathers or mothers, or fathers and mothers [68] who have lost their children; a hero and a few country-clowns. The piece generally cocluds by all being made happy, after a variety of hardships; and the evil genius is punished.

In the Joseph-stadt theatre, you may see a still more ludicrous species of performance. The evening when I was present, the play was the Ocksenshauf (or the Ox's skin), the plot of which is really laughable. A princess has an ox, which she tenderly loves, and which is fed by the first noblemen of. her court. Her enemy (a sorcerer) disguises himself into a good genius, and persuades her to have it killed. She orders this to be done, although all her people petition her to spare it. The sorcerer then carries her off. [69] Her lover, prince Von Elfen, informs her subjects that she can only be saved from rain, by some of her subjects wearing the ox's skin for a given time.Lots are cast to discover who is to be the person, and it falls upon her faithful cow-keeper. He is immediately struck dumb; and enjoined, whenever any questions are asked; him, to reply by bellowing, which he frequently does in the course of the evening, to the no small amusement of the spectators. The play concludes with the sorcerer losing his magic ring, and being tbrown into prison. The prince Von Elfen.of course gets his beloved princess — From these specimens you may judge pretty well what is the people's taste in theatrical [70] representations, aad more particularly when you see them constantly amused with this species of entertainment. In London a fit for something childish comes upon the public for a season, but it never lasts long; jthey soon return with pleasure to Shakespeare, Addison, Sheridan, &c. Here howeyer it is continual.

The church; of St Charles Barromeo is said to have been built after the model of St. Peter's at Rome. It has a triangular façade, supported by Corinthian pillars. Pneach side of the front is a large column, after the manner of Trajan's, full of basso-relievos, representing different scenes during the plague in 1713, on which accoupt it was built by Charles VI. [71] for a vow made during that dreadful scourge. He,expresses himself in these words in the front; —

 
"Vota mea reddam in conspectu timentium Deum."

PSALM XXI.

My next step was to see the Zeughan (or arsenal), which waa founded in the time of Maria Theresa, and serves as the deposit of small arms taken from the enemy. You may there find the kind of muskets first used after the invention of gunpowder. They were so long and heavy, that each man carried a prop upon which he rested the muzzle when he wanted to fire. These muskets are all well cleaned, and tastefully arranged according to their classes; and the nations from which they were taken. The Turkish, the Spanish, the French, &c. [72] by thenselves; and as the building is square, you walk round without your attention being interrupted, by having to go into separate rooms. The most interesting objects were, several Turkish drums and standards, and a baloon taken at Wurtzberg in 1796 by the archduke Charles. The story goes, that two French officers reconnoitered his camp from it, which he observing, ordered that it should fired upon, but without success. Afterwards cbanging his position, he gained a battle, and found the baloon in a nannery. There were likewise the French eagles of the first and sixtieth regiments taken at the battle of Leipzig, of the thirty-third taken at Culm, and the keys of the city of Lyons.

[73]  In the yard were six brass cannons given to the citizens by the Emperor; on which were written these words: —

 
"Der Kaiser an seinen treuen Bürger von Wien"—
" The Emperor to his faithful citizens of Vienna."

Ofi these they are justly proud, as they were the reward of their loyalty at the beginning of the war of the allies.

The palace of Schönbrunn, about half an hour ride from the city, cost upwards of three millions of florins of hard money, about 870,000 l. sterling in the time of Charles VI. It is situated at the bottom of a small eminence, upon which is a summer house, with one apartment large enough to hold two hundred persons, besides other smaller ones.  In one of the [74] rooms was a square box of about ten feet high, containing a sofa just large enough for three or four people to sit on; with mirrors hung on each side. In this you might ascend to the top of the building; for which purpose you have only to touch a bell. A man is in waiting to pull you up, and you rise gently, till all at once a most enchanting prospect presents itself, which comprises the whole of Vienna, the Hungarian, Bohemian, and Moravian mountains. When you wish to descend, you have only to ring the bell again, and you are let down with as much ease as you rise.

In the garden is a hot-house, where were a number of curious exotic plants, such as the papyrus, the sago-tree, the [75] bread-tree, &c.; and a little further a menagerie of wild beasts.

The emperor's porcelain manufactgory in the suburb Rusau brings him in yearly a handsome revenue, for he is the only monopolizer in the trade. The workmen are so expert that they have been able to copy drawings from Poussin on plates so well, that, could you see them without knowing how they had been done, you would pronounce them originals. But such pieces are very dear, probably from 50 l. to 200 l. sterling. There were some inferior ones; such as landscapes, valued at from one hundred to two hundred florins.

The academy of Joseph II. merits a few words. It contains, in models of wax, all the parts belonging to the human frame, [76] and so well executed that you may fancy them just severed: it is the place  to which all the medical men resort to finish their studies. There is besides a good cabinet for the study of zoology and mineralogy.

An Englishman will scarcely credit my description of the Exchange; it is so much unlike any thing in his own country. It cosists of two rooms in a first floor in the middle of one of them is a railing within which the brokers stand. This is done to prevent the squeezing and pushing that would ensue, if they were allowed to run about. When a merchant therefore wants an article, he knows where to find his broker.

You must go in with your hat off, which [77] is really inconvenient, as the rooms are generally full. The windows, too, are shut, so that the stench is intolerable. There are no placards or advertisements: the only pager you see is the rate of exchange with foreign countries. The first time I went, I was admitted as a stranger, but was told that this could not be the case on Wednesdays and Saturdays without a ticket. I tried, and was refused: The government will not allow two persons of the same house to attend, for they are afraid that the depreciation of their paper is hastened by the speculations there. They have, in consequence of this idea, often had it in contemplation to shut the place entirely.

Vienna, April 26, 1814. I hired a [78] coach, and drove this morning to Leopoldsberg and Calemberg, about two hours' ride from town, that I might have an opportunity of viewing the scenery from the two highest prints in the neighbourhood. Calemberg was formerly inhabited by the Carthusian order, whose church and building still exist, but are all in a decayed state. The prince de Ligne has taken possession of a few rooms, and visits them often to enjoy "the unbounded prospect which Iies before him," taking in the whole of the province of Austria, including fhe famous fields of battle of Wagram, Aspern, and Essling, the thousand islands; formed  by the Danube, and (when the weather permits) the city of Presburg. Leopoldsberg, though not so high, has its charms. The [79] Danube comes from the distance on the side of Bavaria, rolls as it were past your feet, and loses itself forty or fifty miles off. The hills to your right are beautifully wooded. The wild pear-tree, the vine, the cherry-tree, the oak, the beech, the willow, gave variety. Neat country-houses stand in exceltent situations. In short it is the most extensive prospect I had yet enjoyed in my tour. The prince de Ligne has furnished and painted a few rooms here in the Turkish style. The walls are covered with Turkish inscriptions: under a dial, which is on the out-side of his apartments, was the following line: —

"Quocumque omnes cadunt, semper recta linea est."

I conceived it to be an allusion to his [80] name, for he is by birth a Frenchman, had claimed protection from the Austrian court at the breaking out of the Revolution, and had remained true to her ever since. Indeed he was in high favour with the royal family. The day I was on the Leopoldsberg, preparations had been made for him and the empress, whom he was to accompany thither.

An estimate of the population of Vienna will naturally be expected. Though considerally thinned from various causes, it still contains two hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants, including those of the suburbs. The city itself has only one thousand eight hundred houses, of about three to four stories high, but each story contains a family. It is not as with us, where every [81]  family has a house to itself; the houses are consequently much larger. The streets in the city are not so broad or well paved as those out of it.

The French language is very generally understood by all classes, and a good deal is spoken in the higher circles, who have likewise imbibed much of the French manners.. There seems to be a great inclination for the military life amongst the young men, arising no doubt from their intercourse with that nation; but at the period of which I am now writing, a considerable coolness subsisted between the two countries, though I do not mean to insinuate that the English were better liked, for I do not think they were.

Their morals are of the very loosest kind.

[to be continued]

Source:

  • A tour through some parts of Istria, Carniola, Styria, Austria, the Tyrol, Italy, and Sicily, in the Spring of 1814. By a young English merchant. Printed for Gale and Fenner (London, 1815) - Google books.

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