« ZurückWeiter »
and the Rio Gila, and their tributaries. Every other portion of the continent, with one notable exception, was occupied by indigent and semi-barbarous tribes, widely scattered, and subsisting for the most part on the produce of the chase. The exception was Kentucky, bearing the ominous appellation of "the dark and bloody ground," which had long been shunned by every Indian with superstitious dread. According to the traditions of the locality, the now attractive banks of the Ohio had been the scene of a frightful carnage many centuries before the arrival of the Europeans. An entire nation, both physically and morally distinguished from the Redskins" white men"-and who had been settled in the country from time immemorial, were unexpectedly assailed and overwhelmed by their enemies. The manifest incompletion of several of the monuments in the valley betokens a sudden cessation of labor on the part of their constructors, and thus far confirms the terrible reality of the Indian legends. If those ill-fated people were not the true aborigines of the soil, they were undoubtedly connected with them, as may be inferred from the peculiarity of many of their structures; the relics exhumed from their tumuli; and, above all, from their primeval mode of sepulture. In the absence of documentary proofs and positive evidence it is extremely difficult, and often impossible to determine the aboriginal migrations of a people. The primary immigrants of North America are no exception to this general rule. They arrived in the New World, we believe, by various routes and at various epochs. That comparatively narrow territory which stretches from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, and which is so especially rich in stupendous and highly-decorated monuments, many of them bearing indisputable marks of the hoariest antiquity, was the first abode of the civilized nations. Those nations, as Mr. Taylor argues on à priori grounds,* brought their civilization with them; it was not of indigenous growth; and the Abbé Brasseur de Bourbourg, who has labored long as a missionary in that part of the continent, as well as in the interests
Anahuac, pp. 191, etc.
of ethnographical science, inclines to the opinion that the Mayas of Yucatan are their degenerate descendants. Thence population was diffused and radiated through the immense regions of the North. Almost the same combination of mounds, terraces, and pyramids is found throughout the valley of the Mississippi as at Copan, Palenqué and Uxmal; a fact which goes far to prove that the inhabitants of the interior derived their civil as well as their religious institutions, and such knowledge of the arts as they possessed, from Central America. The one, no doubt, was a modification of the other. By one of those refluxes which were so common in the early history of mankind, the tide of population returned to its original source, but by a circuitous or northwesterly channel; commingling in its passage with several streams of later immigrants to the continent, by Behring's Straits or the Aleutian Isles. Hence the cause of those national changes and revolutions which may be faintly traced on the face of the most primitive monuments, and which are most distinctly portrayed on the more modern ones. The mild religious services of the first ages were superseded by the sanguinary ritual in vogue at the time of the conquest; political domination had completely succumbed to sacerdotal rule: the Inca added to his other functions those of supreme pontiff. Such, in brief, we take to have been the main courses of population in North America. No doubt there were many intermigrations, of more or less importance, the order of which, however, it is impossible to indicate. In connection with these we may remark, by the way, that no existing tribe of Indians, located east of the Mississippi, lay claim to the monuments surrounding them. According to their several traditions, they found them much in the same condition as they now appear, when their forefathers, centuries ago, "arrived from the west " and possessed themselves of the country. Old societies had utterly perished ages before, leaving posterity ignorant not only of the extent of their dominions, but also of their very titles. The Atlantic seaboard, from New England to South Carolina, would seem to have been but sparsely peopled till within a compara
Thus have we travelled over nearly the entire area of North America, and pointed out, in our necessarily hasty passage, the sites of the most important and interesting structural monuments pertaining, as we believe, to at least three distinct and widely separated epochs in the pre-Columbian history of the continent. These edifices show, partly from their architectural and other peculiarities, and partly from the relics of art discovered within and about them, whence sprang their authors, the aboriginal occupants of the soil. Their immediate origin is, and probably ever will be, an open question. It reaches back to the remotest period of human history, and is involved in a haze of fable. Nevertheless, their creeds, usages, and legends, whether delineated on the monuments or reflected by succeeding generations, uniformly point to an Oriental source; and this is all that can be averred with absolute certainty concerning them.
As with men, so with cities; whenever one of the latter becomes famous, and the eyes of the world are fixed upon it, we desire to know more of it than what is presented on the surface. A thousand little details, trifling, perhaps, in themselves, share in the interest attaching to the whole to which they belong. And as the most interesting biographies of great men are those which not merely make us acquainted with the prominent features of their lives-with the great exploits which they achieved -but also follow them into their solitude or home-life, so the most attractive chronicles of states and cities are those which enter into the seemingly unimportant minutiæ, neglected by the
general historian and the compiler of the guide-book.
Lutetia (civitas) Parisiorum is first mentioned in Cæsar's Commentaries. Lutetia has had various derivations assigned to it, but most probably it is the Latinized form of Loutouhezi, the Celtic for a city in the midst of waters, it having been built on an island in the Seine. In the fourth century, it received the name of the people whose chief city it was. During the middle ages, it was supposed that Francus, a son of Hector, founded Paris, and also Troyes in Champagne, giving to the former the name of his uncle. In all likelihood, it comes from the Celtic par or bar, a frontier.
Christianity, according to Gregory of Tours, was first preached to the Parisians by St. Dionysius or Denis, in the year 250; and the first synod held in Paris took place in 360, which seems to prove that the Christian missionaries had already made numerous converts there. Paganism, however, was not wholly uprooted until the episcopate of St. Marcellus, who died in 436, and who, according to a legend, is said to have hurled into the Seine a frightful dragon which desolated the city, and which, perhaps, was the emblem of heathenism.
The Emperor Julian, commonly called the Apostate, had a great liking for Paris, and spent five winters there. He praises its inhabitants for their intelligence and good conduct, and the surrounding vineyards for their excellent produce. An edifice, improperly called the Thermes de Julien, still exists in the Rue de la Harpe, which perpetuates his memory, and possibly served as his residence. In his time, the Montagne Ste. Geneviève was a sort of Campus Martius; the gardens of the Luxembourg were occupied by a Roman camp; and Roman villas lined both sides of the Seine.
The Merovingians made Paris their capital, and Clovis constantly resided there. His sons, while dividing his states, judged the possession of Paris of so great importance, that they shared it among themselves, and agreed that none of them should enter it without the consent of the others. Under this dynasty, several of the Parisian churches were founded. Childebert built the church of St. Vincent, afterward St. Ger
main des Prés, the vaulting of each window in which was supported by costly pillars of marble. Paintings, decorated with gold, covered the ceiling and the walls. The roof, composed of plates of gilded bronze, when struck by the rays of the sun, dazzled the eyes of beholders with its brilliancy.
Under Louis VI. and Louis VII. Paris became celebrated for its schools. The best known were the Cathedral School, the school of St. Germain des Prés, and that of Ste. Geneviève. At the first mentioned, Guillaume de Champeaux taught theology, and counted among his pupils the well-known Abélard, at the end of the eleventh and beginning of the twelfth century. In 1118, Abélard opened on the Montagne Ste. Geneviève his famous school, which soon eclipsed all the others, and at which no less than ten thousand scholars attended. Philip Augustus, judging that Paris was not sufficiently protected by its walls, caused a tower to be built outside them, on the site of a Louveterie, or wolf hunting establishment, from which it received the name of the Louvre. It served at once for a royal residence, a fortress, and a state-prison; and was completed, according to the original plan, in 1204. It was under this monarch that the streets of Paris were first paved. One day, while standing at a window of his palace in the city, the mud or filth in the street, shaken by some vehicles which were passing, exhaled an unbearable stench, which invaded the royal nostrils. It was then that Philip conceived the project of paving the streets. The work was done at the expense of the town, the pavement consisting of rough flagstones, about three feet and a half square, and six inches in thickness.
It was in this reign, in 1182, that the legate of the Holy See consecrated the cathedral of Notre-Dame, begun in 1163 by Maurice de Sully, Bishop of Paris. This immense edifice, however, was not finished till the reign of Charles VII., in the fifteenth century. The original flooring of Philip Augustus was lately found at eight or nine feet below the surface; and the thirteen steps which in his time it is said led to the entrance, have disappeared. It was under Philip that the municipality of
Paris received its first developments, and assumed a regular form. Besides the provost, who, as officer of the king, presided over the courts of justice, there was the syndic, nominated by the community of merchants, whose duty it was to protect the commercial interests of the town. He was afterwards called the provost of the merchants, and was assisted by echevins, who formed his council. Under Philip, this officer acquired many new rights. The police, the streets, the care of public edifices, the administration of the lands belonging to the town, passed from the provost of Paris to this functionary.
Philip was also the patron of learning. He instituted schools in the Rue du Fouarre. Fouarre, or foare, from which is derived the existing fourrage (forage), is an old French word signifying straw. The scholars in those simple ages sat upon bundles of straw during the lectures, and as this custom naturally resulted in the frequent appearance of that material in the neighborhood of the schools, the street received its title from it. During the middle ages, no traffic was permitted in this street, in order to obviate any disturbance to the students.
Philip the Fair founded the parliament of Paris. It held its sessions in the King's Palace (Palais de Justice), which, in the middle of the fifteenth century, was entirely abandoned to it. In this palace was the vast hall which served for receiving the homage of vassals, giving audience to ambassadors, public festivities, and other occasions of national interest, at one of the extremities of which was an enormous marble table, round which sovereigns alone were permitted to sit; and upon which, at certain times of the year, the society of clercs de la basoche (lawyers' clerks) gave dramatic entertainments of a farcical character.
In the fourteenth century, as now, Paris was celebrated as the seat of fashion in dress, though those dazzling magasins de nouveautés which we now admire there did not then exist. Wearing-apparel, as well as other merchandise, was generally sold by criers in the streets. "They do not cease to bray from morning till night," writes Guillaume de Villeneuve. Vendors of all classes swelled the discordant concert.
To cry goods for sale was the daily special occupation; among others, of the three hundred blind men supported by the king, St. Louis. These unfortunates, it seems, were in the habit of performing their duties without guidance, and the consequence was, that they frequently came in collision, and gave each other
The first stone of the famous Bastile was laid by the provost of Paris, in the reign of Charles V., 1369. That formidable edifice was built for the purpose of protecting the king, who had seen his authority braved by the Parisians while residing in his palace in the city, which on that account he quitted. He frequently dwelt in the Louvre, of which the Bastile was a pendant, and of which M. Vitet gives the following picturesque description as it was in the fourteenth century: "The king caused to be raised outside the moats a number of buildings, useful and ornamental, of a middling height, forming what were then called basses-cours, and united to the château by gardens of considerable extent. One cannot imagine all the various objects that were heaped together in these dependencies and gardens. Besides lodgings for the officers of the crown, there were a menagerie of lions and panthers, bird-rooms, aviaries for the king's parrots, fish-ponds, basins, labyrinths, tunnels, trellises, leafy pavilions-the favorite decoration of gardens in the middle ages. These parterres, cut in symmetrical compartments, and thrown in the midst of buildings varying in form and elevation; that chaos of towers and turrets the former rising heavily from the moats, the latter as if suspended from the walls; that pell-mell of pointed roofs, here covered with lead, there with var nished tiles, some crested with heavy vanes, some with tufts of various colors -all this has no resemblance to a modern palace; but that disorder, these contrasts, which seem to us only barbarously picturesque, appealed quite differently to the imagination in those days, and were not without their grandeur and majesty. These were the bright days of the feudal Louvre, when it was living, peopled, and well cared for."
The space of ground which, until lately, formed the Marché des Innocents, was, in the middle ages, the principal cemetery
of Paris. It was surrounded by a sort of vaulted gallery, which was reserved for the corpses of distinguished persons and for dressmakers' shops. Here, in the year 1424, the English, who were then masters of Paris, gave a grand fête of rejoicing for the battle of Verneuil, and indulged in a frightful "dance of the dead" over the level tombstones. In the middle of the cemetery rose an obelisk, surmounted by a lamp, which alone feebly illumined at night the field of the dead, and animated its solitude. But at sunrise all was changeddaylight brought back with it noise, luxury, and pleasure.
Victor Hugo, in the chapter of his romance, Notre Dame de Paris, entitled Paris à vol d'oiseau (book iii. chapter ii.), gives a vivid description of the town as it was in the fifteenth century. Paris, according to him, was at that time divided into three distinct parts-the City, the University, and the Town. The City, occupying the island, was the oldest and smallest, and was the mother of the other two. "It stood between these," he says, "like a little old woman between two tall handsome daughters." The University was on the left bank of the Seine, stretching between points which at present correspond with the Halles aux Vins and La Monnaie. The Town, the largest of the three divisions, was on the right side of the river. Each of the divisions formed a town, depending for its completeness upon the others. The City had churches; the Town, palaces; the University, colleges.
In 1539, Francis I. having given permission to the Emperor Charles V. to traverse France, entertained the idea of receiving him at the Louvre, which underwent, on that account, a general restoration, according to the style of the Renaissance; but as soon as the emperor departed, Francis, perceiving that the new works were merely of a temporary character, resolved to build a new palace on the same site as the former one, and confided its erection to Pierre Lescot. The building, begun in 1541, was continued till the death of Henry II. It is the finest portion of the Louvre; the south-west angle. When Catherine de Médicis came into power, she dismissed Lescot, engaged an Italian archi
tect, and caused that wing to be built which advances toward the river.
In 1564, tired of the Louvre, Catherine bought a piece of ground called the Salbonière, covered with pottery-works, the Tuileries Saint-Honoré, and commenced the palace which received its name from the fabrics which had occupied its site. For six years, the new edifice steadily progressed; but Catherine, having learned from her astrologer, Ruggieri, that it was her fate to die under the ruins of a house near St. Germain, suddenly gave up the works of the Tuileries, because it was in the parish of St. Germain l'Auxerrois, and built the Hôtel de Soissons, on the site of the present corn-market.
The famous Point-Neuf was begun in 1578, Henry III. laying the first stone. The Place-Royale was completed in 1612. Here Cardinal Richelieu soon afterwards built a palace, which he called the Palais Cardinal, but which, in a spirit of regal munificence, he presented to his king, Louis XIII. Thenceforth, it became the Palais-Royal. Numerous hotels of the noblesse sprang up in the same quarter, and with them first appeared there the warehouses for bijouterie and other fancy goods, for which the PalaisRoyal is at present so celebrated.
A writer of that time severely blames the merchants of these shops for permitting their wives to flirt with customers-"all to induce them to buy a fashionable collar, a child's purse, a drachm or two of perfume for the perruque, or a boy's wooden sword." Speaking of perruques, we must not omit to mention that they reached their full development at the time of Louis Quatorze. Their most celebrated maker was a M. Binet, from whom they sometimes were called binettes. They weighed several pounds, sometimes cost a thousand crowns, and rose five or six inches above the brow. The word binette still exists in the language of the Paris gamin, designating a person with a droll
The last insurrection at Paris before the Revolution was that called the Fronde (sling). This revolt received its name in a singular manner. In the moat of the town, near Saint-Roch, the little boys of the quarter used to fight with slings. When the constable appeared, they all took to their heels. In the disputes of the
parliament, a young counsellor, Bauchaumont, observed the modesty and docility of the members in the presence of the king, and their turbulence in his absence. "They are quiet just now," said he, "but when he is gone, they will sling (on frondera) with a will." The word remained. The Fronde soon gained the whole town, which eagerly took the side of the insurgents, as the first cause of the troubles was a new tax on houses built outside the walls. Afterwards, when the rebellion was quelled, the Parisians paid dearly for their share in it. Their privileges were abolished, a royal garrison took the place of their civic guards, and magistrates dependent on the crown, that of the municipal authorities.
Deprived of its independence, it became the sole glory of Paris to be the stage on which the splendors of the court of Louis XIV. were revealed. In 1662, that king gave an idea of what his reign would cost by the famous fête du carrousel, which has left its name to the vast place between the Louvre and the Tuileries. It cost 1,200,000 francs. Gold and silver were employed in so great profusion on the trappings of the horses, that the material of which they were made could not be distinguished from the embroidery with which it was covered. The king and the princes shone with the prodigious quantity of diamonds with which their arms and the harness of their horses were covered. About the same time, the Tuileries and the Louvre were completed, and a garden was designed for the former by Le Nôtre. The former garden of the Tuileries, like other ancient French gardens, comprised a strange medley; among other objects, it contained a pretty little abode, beside the quay, and mysteriously concealed by a thick grove, which Louis XIII. had given to his valet-de-chambre, Renard, who had furnished it with rare and costly articles, and had made it a secret rendezvous for young seigneurs, and the scene of luxurious petits soupers.
It was in 1669 that Soliman Aga, the Turkish ambassador at the French court, introduced the use of coffee into Paris. The first café was opened at the foire St. Germain, which was then one of the most frequented and fashionable places of resort in the town, and the suppres